Abstracting reality: abstracted art

Art pieces can be turned into abstractions as well, as shown by several examples in Hennie Schaper's photography.

In his own words: "Photographing art with the purpose to create something new - rather than a simple depiction - is one of the harder things to do. Creating abstracts this way is even more difficult. Usually, the art piece will be a sculpture, and by focusing on a detail, one may get the abstract one wants. As always, lines and patterns play a dominant role in this."

Here are a number of examples, with his own descriptions (click on the images to see them in his Flickr site).

The eye of the storm

A detail of a paper sculpture encountered during the 2012 Kampen Art Weekend. The artist is Elsa Visser. By focusing on the hole, with a plethora of leading lines around it, I created an abstract feeling, enhanced by the black and white conversion.

Abstraction in metal tones

When my wife took part in the 2009 exhibition for contemporary Chinese artists in Tours, I had a field day looking for suitable subjects for my photography. There was one metal sculpture that offered many different possibilities, depending on angle and lighting. Forms, shapes and tones make for an agreeable abstraction.

Artistic patterns 2

In 2014 we visited a large art exhibition in the small Frysian village of Woudsend, because a friend of ours was one of the artists taking part. The large ceramic sculptures of Karin Welhuis turned out to be eminently suitable for conversion to abstract photographs via close-ups of the structures.

Artificial moon

The 2013 Kampen Art Weekend offered another chance to look at the works of local artists, and see whether they could be abstracted. This is a paper sculpture by an artist whose name I did not write down unfortunately, The light shining through makes this a special and still very abstract composition.

Abstraction in metal tones 2

An abstraction of the same sculpture as in the second example. Note how different this one is by focusing on another part, with curves dominating instead of straight lines.


During a 2010 visit to the Pompidou Center in Paris, we came across an art installation in hard plastic (I did not write down the name of the artist). Zooming in on a detail, and converting to black and white yielded another abstract.

Tronc [Zoltan Kemeny]

Another visit to the Pompidou, two years later. A huge metal sculpture by Zoltan Kemeny. By focusing on this part, with the contrast of the rectangular endings with the sensuous curves of the pipes, another abstract was born. This would have worked in monochrome too, but I like the metal colours here.

50 shades of grey

This is a close-up of a huge paper sculpture by Machteld Wijlacker, exhibited at the Zwolle Museum. The high contrast black-and-white version with its 50 shades of grey, suggest an original 2D art piece.

Red dwarf

A huge art installation near my wife's Shanghai studio, photographed from the bottom. Great patterns, and of course with this luscious red, a black and white version would not be suitable. Even though it reminds me a bit of the vintage BBC comedy Red Dwarf, I think it is still sufficiently abstract.

Sculpture detail

A detail of a metal sculpture encountered during the 2013 Kampen Art Weekend. A stunning combination of shapes, colours and tones.

Artistic patterns

The same artist as the third example, but with a different ceramic sculpture. Also interesting how there is a visual echo between this shot and the first example.

Abstraction in metal tones 4

A third take from my session with the metal sculpture seen in the second and fifth examples. The strong diagonal rectangle is set off against the beautiful patterns and hues of the background. Amazing how different these three shots turned out.


Here we have a sculpture located in front of Kampen's new city hall. By taking the shot from inside the sculpture, looking up, a special abstract emerged.

Coldplay 2017-054

A close-up of one of my wife's mixed media works, in this case a painting with strands of wool glued on top.

Heads, not tails

A detail of a large sculpture in the gardens of the Heino museum. Aided by the converssion to black and white, this image is reduced to an abstraction of lines and shapes.

A detail of an art piece in a church at Harlingen, Friesland. The changing directions of the openings within the diagonal composition gives the shot an extra dynamic feel.

The first of two art abstractions (details of ceramic art pieces) shot at the beautiful ceramics museum Princessehof in Leeuwarden.

The second of two art abstractions (details of ceramic art pieces) shot at the beautiful ceramics museum Princessehof in Leeuwarden. A personal favourite of mine.