Phoneography Challenge, the Phone as Your Lens: Abstraction

23 September 2013


1. Parking Garage Floor, iPhone 4s, September 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. Parking Garage Floor, iPhone 4s, September 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Parking Garage Floor, iPhone 4s, September 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Parking Garage Floor, iPhone 4s, September 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

Let me know which you prefer and why.


If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Phoneography Challenge, please contact me.

Photography trains the eye, thereby strengthening visual acuity. Photography acts like a laser to bring power to observation, unleashing a dissection of the seen and unseen.

Photography opens the mind to arrange what is real, and rearrange through interpretation. Two lenses meet and over time experimentation and more experimentation can freeze expected and unexpected moments.

Abstract photography is one of the best avenues to open the mind’s idea of what can be re-imagined. Abstract photography is a microscope into unnoticed angles, lines, and patterns that dance through our visual landscape. A sudden discovery of what was hidden is a pivotal experience for the eye’s lens.

Throughout my teenage and early adult years my mother was an accomplished Abstract Expressionist. We summered in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she studied with other painters of the movement. Her teacher Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) was world-renowned, and attracted national and international students. She became immersed in conversation–salon-style, and there always seemed to be people at our cottage.

Pompeii, Hans Hofmann, 1959, Google Images

Pompeii, Hans Hofmann, 1959, Google Images

I still can visualize the flocks of artists, patrons and tourists wanting to see more. There is no doubt about the influence those years had upon my own life.

I was grazed by the talent. I witnessed my mother exhibiting with masters and others who were or became familiar names in art history.

Every day the legacy of my mother’s work speaks volumes to me. Her paintings surround my children and me, reminding us of her incredible journey as an artist.

This week on my morning walk through my university town, I decided to follow the light as it slipped through the windows and into one of the campus’ parking garages. But it was the beams on the floor that caught my attention.

The scene that enticed me is found in the Lens section. Two different views of the scenario that pulled me into its composition: bold colors and subtle shapes floated into view–abstractions indeed.

Tip of the Week: One of the best ways to stretch one’s view of the world is being exposed to how others’ see it. I grew up visiting galleries and museums as well as reading art books, and each has stayed a huge part of my personal story. Henri Matisse (1869-1954), who was a master painter and sculptor, is one of my favorite artists. For years he created series-upon-series of paper cut-outs.

"The Snail,"  Henri Matisse, 1953, Google Images

“The Snail,” Henri Matisse, 1953, Google Images

These (mostly) abstractions are thematic with a punchy and beautiful whimsy–whimsy that takes us beyond what is real to the imagined. I am fortunate to have seen his drawings and cut-outs at the Chappelle du Rosaire in Vence, France. His designs created for the chapel are abstract interpretations. They grace one of the most serenely calm interiors, which encourages meditation and worship. Click here to enjoy his extraordinary work. Hopefully, it will inspire your own photographic or other artistic experimentation.

View other entries for this week’s challenge, which is Challenger’s Choice:

Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog. Here’s a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Phoneography 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 Abstraction, Design, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Phoneography Challenge, the Phone as Your Lens: Abstraction

  1. I’m an abstract fan. Not only they are beautiful but makes you think.

  2. elisaruland says:

    Brilliant shots, Sally. I see your artistic eye runs in the family. Matisse is one of my favorite artists, especially for his use of color, and in my mind for his whimsy. It’s ironic, because I generally trend toward neutrals.

    • Elisa, when I entered the chapel and walked the ground that he had designed, I was awed. He sat and worked in the very room where I was. It’s nice to share an admiration for him with you. Thanks, enjoy the weekend.

  3. Amy says:

    I like the lens of both, appreciate the “pens”. Artists can express through colorful abstract better.

  4. patriciamoed says:

    Wonderful post, Sally! Is it possible to view any of your mother’s work? It must have been an amazing experience to grow up in that artistic environment.

  5. I agree with Tom, both on the toss-up and how they mimic the art you showed. What an adventure you had growing up! My uncle’s quite a good and, in watercolor circles, well-known artist (Gerald F. Brommer, but I didn’t grow up with him. 🙂 Wish I’d gotten some of his talent, though. Now I’m off to check other entries before hitting the streets of San Francisco for the second day.


  6. Gallivanta says:

    What a rich art background you have. You have been fortunate. I appreciate your thoughts on how photography trains the eye. I can see this happening (slowly) in my own life. And, thank you, thank you for the link to the Chapelle du Rosaire; it’s beautiful.

  7. Sally — It’s really a coin toss on which frame I prefer. Let’s call it a tie this week. They both look great and mimic quite well the Hans Hoffman abstract. Back here in reality, how about going out to lunch with me. My treat:

  8. Amar Naik says:

    To me both images reflect a Z shape. Wondering how this image would look like when combined 🙂
    my entry for this week is the bikes clicked using the new iOS 7 software.

  9. Abstract shapes take the imagination into new and unexplored worlds. I love your bright color arrangements. I went to a darker place more surreal and strange. Fun exercise, I’ll keep looking for abstractions in the everyday. Thanks!

  10. Wonderful colors in your photos today Sally. Abstract Expressionism was one of my favorite areas to study while working toward my Art History degree. Growing up surrounded by your mother’s work and her circle of fellow painters must have been an amazing experience.
    I took a different approach today and have a few food photos to share:

  11. What a wonderful experience for you to have a mother who was an accomplished artist♥ You had to experience some beautiful events in your life.

  12. Angeline M says:

    I love the color in both photos!
    I’ve just added my photos for the challenge

  13. suelca says:

    I prefer #1 for the textural effect being more prominent than #2, to me….

  14. Lignum Draco says:

    Hard to say why one abstract is better than another. Better to do a third image and make a triptych.

  15. I don’t prefer one image to the other, I think the two of them are interesting together 🙂 Have a good week ahead!

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