Abstracting reality: a general introduction

Of the recurring topics in Hennie Schaper's photography, abstract images tend to stand out. The Wikipedia entry on Abstract art (link) starts with the sentence: Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. The first part is evident, but it is also important to pay attention to the second part: the presence of identifiable items do not make an image a non-abstract. I stress this, because one often encounters comments that assume abstracts by definition cannot have identifiable elements.

Abstract art is mostly encountered in paintings, and less frequently in photography. It is worthwhile pointing out a big distinction between these two abstract art forms. Painters can let their imagination go wild in creating their abstracts, with forms, colours and lines fully unrestricted from a practical point of view. Photographers are limited to what they encounter (or in rare cases set-up) in real life. It is essential to develop a good eye for possibilities in this respect, keeping in mind that one can select larger scenes as well as small details (without necessarily going into the special field of macro photography). As in all photography, composition plays an important role in determining the quality of an abstract shot. The natural flow through an image, often enhanced by good choice of using the diagonals, is crucial in this respect.

To present a selection of Hennie Schaper's abstract photographs in this site, it was decided to divide them over the following six (not mutually exclusive) themes: distorted reflections, architectural abstracts, wear and tear, zooming in, abstracted art, and found abstracts. As an appetizer,an example of each theme.

Distorted reflections (click here to see more on this theme)

Architectural abstracts (click here to see more on this theme)

Abstraction in Stael Style
Wear and tear (click here to see more on this theme)

Zooming in (click here to see more on this theme)

The eye of the storm
Abstracted art (click here to see more on this theme)

Harbor wall abstraction
Found abstracts (click here to see more on this theme)