iPhoneography Monday: Abstract

25 March 2013


1. Abstract, iPhone 4s, February 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. Abstract, iPhone 4s, February 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Abstract, iPhone 4s, February 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Abstract, iPhone 4s, February 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Abstract, iPhone 4s, February 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Abstract, iPhone 4s, February 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

4. Abstract, iPhone 4s, February 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

4. Abstract, iPhone 4s, February 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

Let me know which you prefer and why.


Last month Gracie (http://graciebinoya.com), Polly (http://watchingthephotoreels.com) and I began an iPhoneography Monday Challenge. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. This week’s theme is Challenger’s Choice, and I selected abstraction, which aims to show the non-representational.

As a teenager I was privy to a cadre of luminaries and rising stars in the abstract expressionist movement. During summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, my mother studied and/or exhibited with such renowned artists as Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell. Those years influenced the direction of my personal and professional life.

Indian Summer, Hans Hofmann, 1959; Google images

“Indian Summer,” by Hans Hofmann, 1959; Google Images

Elegy to the Spanish Republic 34, by Robert Motherwell,1954, Google Images

“Elegy to the Spanish Republic 34,” by Robert Motherwell,1954, Google Images

While abstract expressionism placed one of my feet into the art world, the deal was sealed when I saw impressionist Claude Monet and landscape painter J.M.W. Turner’s works. Each taking what they saw and re-imaging it as newly conceived.

"Haystacks (Sunset)," by Claude Monet, 1891, Google Images

“Haystacks (Sunset),” by Claude Monet, 1891, Google Images

Turner by Michael

 J.M.W. Turner, 1775-1851: The World of Light and Colour, by Michael Bockemuhl, 2000

Those memories set the trajectory for my sensibilities. But it did more. It gave me building blocks to open my mind to all sorts of creative endeavors.

As with other genres of the stilled moment, abstract photography depends (mostly) on composition, lighting and editing. An image can fill a frame with the viewers’ inability to discern its character and patterns. It is a series of, for example, forms, shapes, textures, and tones. The camera can be moved to create a blurred result, tiny details can become the subject, and waves of hues can turn the image into a color fest.

Today’s apps for the iPhone can create a full range of abstract and impressionistic images. The focus of the eye can become an out-of-focus photograph. The ordinary object can be rendered as an unknown, distorted but purposeful.

Anti-realism can reign with the swipe of a finger. Subjects can be made unclear with the touch of a filter. It’s experimental and knowledge-building all at once.

It allows for an appreciation of the intricacies, pronouncements and subtleties found in a subject. It tears down visual notions and asks us to see other viable images. Abstraction moves the normal into the unfamiliar.

To cultivate these points of departure from reality is to slice and dice our visual world. This way of seeing began its journey in the early twentieth century and steadily gained a following. It’s simply a method of dissection and re-sectioning all that is before us.

In the Lens section are four examples of abstractions. Hipstamatic was used for the first two photographs. The third was shot and edited in PhotoStudio. In the final image I used the iPhone’s built-in camera.

My usual modus operandi is a “light” edit. These entries are part of that philosophy–just enough to reach the goal.

Abstraction calls upon us to re-think what we are seeing. We must re-orient to grasp the subjective. Scale implodes, scale explodes. Either makes for a test of our visual sensibilities.

Check these entries:











Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. The following is a reminder of the weekly schedule and themes for upcoming challenges. 

1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro

3rd Monday: Black-and-White

4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel)

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to iPhoneography Monday: Abstract

  1. Pingback: Sextape | Fio Fieri Factus

  2. Amazing how much technology opens up our creativity.

  3. …and yet another reason that perhaps I will get an iPhone 🙂 Love the textural quality in shot #3

  4. ideflex says:

    A little still life to light up the end of the day – please have a look at

  5. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: Challenger’s Choice | Across the Bored

  6. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: Night Photography | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

  7. Very artistic abstract images. I am a fan of anything abstract. To me, it is something that makes me ask why. Something that stirs my curiosity. Even something that continually evolves depending on how the viewer interprets the subject.

  8. Here goes my input to Mondays Theme: http://wp.me/p3galV-eU

  9. Gallivanta says:

    I like the 4th photo the best. I am not so sure about abstract and these days that is largely to do with my eyes. It is probably a very good exercise for them to focus on abstracts but I really like things to be sharp in outline. Without my glasses, much of the world looks abstract and it’s bothersome. I do like the colour in the second photo. Very rich colour.

  10. Su Leslie says:

    Awesome idea; it’s made me actually go and find an editor for my iPhone photos. Too much fun and another way to spend time that I was meant to use doing something else ….. oh well. http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/iphoneography-monday-abstract/

  11. marialla says:

    I can’t say I so like or really understand abstract stuff so much but I like the 3rd picture the best. Thank you.

  12. livvy30 says:

    Lovely abstract shots. I really like the black and white…as always! http://ayearinmyshoes.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/iphonography-monday-abstract/

  13. Pingback: iPhonography Monday: Abstract | A year in the Life

  14. I absolutely love abstracts. I love how disoriented the viewer is when observing an abstract photo. It’s a whole new world and way of seeing the world, as you were explaining. These are great. My favorite would have to be number 4. I just love how design dominates the composition at an unexpected angle. And it looks lovely too in black and white, I might add. Great work and post 🙂

  15. Great post again full of ideas. Number 1 is my favourite as I find it very balanced and peaceful.

  16. wisejourney says:

    The 4th one is my favourite. It makes me think of speed in a way the others don’t. They give me time to think. This one has me on my toes.

  17. Gracie says:

    Nice shots, Sally!

  18. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: Night Photography | Frames & Focus

  19. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: Abstract | AngelineM's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s