Natural Abstractions

Nature is the original artist.

From the moment that we started painting on cave walls, art attempted to capture or represent what people saw in the world in which they lived. Some art was an attempt to capture the subject as realistically as possible. Other efforts added some interpretation to the image itself.

 

Through the years, artists developed a multitude of techniques to make their art more closely represent their subjects. This effort reached its peak with the invention of photography in the early 19th century. What the eye saw became able to be rendered in the most minute details.

 

Photography changed the art world in profound and subtle ways. The craftsmanship of rendering a likeness became more of mechanical process which more people could master. At the same time the artist lost a little control over the final result because the camera could only capture conditions which existed when the shutter was snapped. A bit of magic in the darkroom could greatly enhance the image, but it remained largely true to life.

 

The advent of digital photography put the artists brush and palette back into the hands of the photographer. What the camera saw could be manipulated infinitely. The original image could be made progressively more abstract.

 

For my Natural Abstractions series, I began with a straightforward image taken from nature, and manipulated the contrast and color ranges until I ended up with a result which was pleasing to my eye. I tiptoed along the line between representational and abstract art: emphasizing and enhancing the color variations, lines, and forms present in the original image.

 

As abstract art freed artists from the some of the accepted conventions applied to art in their days, my photographs do not always follow the “rules” for a good photograph. In the end, I only have one criterion – is it pleasing to look at?