Abstracting reality: wear and tear

Wear and tear, the effect of time on materials like stone, wood and metal, can create beautiful abstract images, often resembling abstract paintings. There are plenty of examples in Hennie Schaper's photography.

In his own words: "Like with all abstractions, it is essential to keep an eye open for suitable subjects. As an example, every time I come into an old European church, I look at the pillars and the walls, for possible abstracts. Another example one frequently encounters is rust, especially when it occurs in combination with painted metal around it. Although in some cases there may be shapes and line play at work as well, more often than not, the abstract effect comes from combining different colours, so black and white conversion is almost never a good idea for this theme. On the other hand, pushing the natural colours to extreme levels often lead to excellent results."

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

Kampen church abstract

I took this one in Kampen's main church (Bovenkerk). Six centuries of wear and tear left beautiful patterns on the supporting columns, with colours enhanced a bit in Picasa. One of my own favourites

Apeldoorn abstraction 1

A restaurant seat in Apeldoorn. Although now used in a covered shopping mall, it looks like it has spent quite some time outside as well. The holes in the seat add an interesting touch to the overall pattern.

Klimtesque abstract

I came across this beauty in a side street in Prague. Just a stone wall, where time left its mark in beautiful shapes and colours (which I pushed a lot in post-processing in Picasa). The result is an abstract that reminds me of Klimt in its colour settings.

Abstraction in rust

This one could have gone under "zooming in" as well. It is a close-up of a compressor on a navy ship we visited during Sail Kampen 2014. An excellent example of coloured patterns caused by rust, in combination with the lines of the compressor fan.

Abstraction in Stael Style
An early shot of mine, taken in Amsterdam. A door of a canal house with paint having peeled off over time. Pushed the colour quite a lot in post-processing, resulting in an abstract that reminds me of the paintings of de Stael.

And all that rust

Another look at a rusted metal surface, this time found in Kampen. It is simple, yet effective. One can view it as a pure abstract, or let it evoke a scenery ("sunset over the lake").


A stone wall in Shanghai, with layers of paint, some having disappeared over time. An almost Rothko-like effect resulted.

Apeldoorn abstraction 3

The same restaurant as in the second picture, but a different chair. I like this one even better with its subtle red and blue tones.

Rothkoesque 2016 [2016 047/366]

A detail of the hull of a ship that had moored on the banks of the IJssel. It reminds me of the beautiful abstracts of Rothko.