• MobiTog Mantra = "Taken with and processed on a Mobile Device" PLEASE NOTE: MobiTog Rule 4. will be applied to all MobiTog Challenges & Contests. Non-compliance may result in entries being disqualified - you've been notified! > For Terms & Rules Click Here <
  • Ynot consider a regular monthly Donation? It's now doable under the Donate tab! (A Donation of just £1/$1 per month will help cover our costs & assist with updates & improvements) HUGE THANKS to all our generous MobiSupporters!
  • NEW MEMBER NOTICE - Need assistance finding your way around Mobitog? > CLICK HERE FOR HELP SECTION <

MobiWorkshop MW6 - Pictorial Abstraction

FundyBrian

MobiLifer
Mobi Veteran
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Brian Townsend
Device
iPhone 8 Plus
My 365
My MobiTog 365
MW6 - Pictorial Abstraction.
F8AEA95D-BA69-4FB8-9B84-F2FA8A65F1BA.jpeg

Pictorial Abstraction refers to a genre of photos that were made seeing the subject in other than the literal way. In this case it isn’t the plant stalks that are the subject but the intersection between subject and shadows forming something new.

While we’re at it, why not this way?
963AFD23-8FBE-468F-BECC-AAFC8F46B12A.jpeg

This is a different picture than the one above but the same subject. This is actually the right side up way I composed the picture but not right side up for the plant stalks poking up through the snow. The plant stalks are coming out of the snow on a 45° slope so no matter which way you look at it it doesn’t seem right side up.

This topic of Pictorial Abstraction suffers from a lack of any well know name to identify it. We can’t simply say Abstract because that doesn’t differentiate it from photos that didn’t start out abstract but have been made into abstracts through editing. At one time we called them Contemporary, but that includes other types of images that are not Abstractions. Pictorial Abstraction shows the subject exactly as seen, without manipulation. The Abstraction is in the way it was seen. Otherwise the photo is pretty much a straight photo, except for the usual tweaks for colour adjustment and exposure, and maybe some cropping adjustment.

This topic is interesting enough on it’s own but as future MobiWorkshop topics come along you will see how it connects. When you focus on making Pictorial Abstraction images you are well on your way to other things to come.

26311678-F7E2-42C6-8789-611ADEE42383.jpeg

This is another “as shot” image and in this case what intrigued me was the way the pattern in the sand combined with the rock to become something new, like maybe an imaginary cross section view showing a potatoe with roots below and foliage above. Or perhaps a heart with blood vessels leading up to the head and down to the organs & lungs.

6737CF87-132A-4C37-81F3-A42632E05CB2.jpeg

Here I am sitting at the doctor’s waiting room, while my shadow self is surrounded by posts and bars.

B8132BA2-B8A2-484E-8832-6A9326567ABD.jpeg

A straight down beach photo that could easily be an aerial photo from 1000 feet up.

You probably have several of these Pictorial Abstractions but maybe didn’t have a name for them. Or if you do have a name let’s hear it.

Please post some of your own Pictorial Abstraction photos here to expand the discussion.
The basic points are: it must be a straight photo that is an abstract because of the way it was seen and composed, not because of editing.
 

sinnerjohn

MobiLifer
Real Name
John
Device
Pixel
suffers from a lack of any well know name to identify it.
Why isn't it just Abstract Photography?
Most abstracts posted on Mobitog 'abstract' threads bear little or no resemblance to 'photographs' at all imho, due to the rise of Art type apps particularly on Apple. Indeed I think these threads need re-naming to art not photography.
A simple wiki search shows us that there is a long history of abstract photography https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_photography which is usually a purer simpler type of photography.
Not sure how changing its name will define it any more Brian?
 

FundyBrian

MobiLifer
Mobi Veteran
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Brian Townsend
Device
iPhone 8 Plus
My 365
My MobiTog 365
Why isn't it just Abstract Photography?
Most abstracts posted on Mobitog 'abstract' threads bear little or no resemblance to 'photographs' at all imho, due to the rise of Art type apps particularly on Apple. Indeed I think these threads need re-naming to art not photography.
A simple wiki search shows us that there is a long history of abstract photography https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_photography which is usually a purer simpler type of photography.
Not sure how changing its name will define it any more Brian?
I figured you would like this thread since it doesn’t rely on any iPhone apps, or any apps at all for that matter, beyond the camera. I’m hoping you have some abstract photos to share with us to expand the vision encompassed in this thread. And by that I mean app-less abstracts. It is about abstract seeing at the time of making the photo. I’m not originating or changing the name but going back to a category I remember from years ago. I don’t know how widely used that name was back then beyond the camera clubs network.

These abstracts are very definitely photographs and not made through the use of artwork or manipulation of any kind. In fact they are straight photographs. Exactly the type of purer simpler photography you were talking about. This thread practically has you name on it.

We are all aware at this point that our ability to compose an image comes from the ability to abstract or mentally simplify the busy content of a scene into it’s basic elements. It is through discovering or seeing the basic forms that we can make sense of a scene with many objects and compose it in a way that satisfies us. So we are already practiced at seeing in the abstract. Sometimes, however, we abandon the literal scene before us because what we see by abstracting is more compelling to us than the overall scene we started with.
A87C5215-A9E9-4328-BD13-1CF66E419331.jpeg

I made a few different compositions of this subject but it was seeing the large curved Vee that makes this composition.

Yes it’s all just Abstract Photography, but that is a very large and general container. We even have a special challenge just for abstracts made through the use of apps - APPstracts. In this case we are going back to the roots - imagine abstract photography before apps, as in film cameras. Abstract photos were certainly made back then, some famous ones, too. And by that I mean photos that are abstract without having been made into an abstract after the shutter was pressed. Photos that started out abstract at the time of seeing and composing. Within the overall sphere of Abstract Photography we have so many ways to get there. As of late it is largely through wild alterations made to a standard photo. In this case I want to celebrate the original and most basic form of abstract photography.
 
Last edited:

Starzee

MobiStaff
Site Staff
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Star Greathouse
Device
iPhone Xs Max
My 365
My MobiTog 365
These are a few of the real life items I have in my abstract folder.
Car wash window
56C936A5-C1F5-4376-BA80-C0EC8B9CA23E.jpeg

Pipes
32BDB6EE-3BCE-47DC-A0F0-C36F323FBC3F.jpeg

Built in fan
47551BB5-735B-49EB-9EFC-C7E99FE77519.jpeg

Perhaps this won’t count, it’s a photo of a Polaroid with film passed it’s prime.
7F1EF661-7A48-4516-B13E-250FF6CE4D0F.jpeg

I absolutely don’t remember what this is, but I use it in collages a lot.
D65F089E-CEFD-4157-B9D1-218BCF7E11F8.jpeg

Rust
0B37EDCF-0BA7-4300-814A-835474A728BD.jpeg

Again, maybe this won’t count, I think it was Hipsta. Shopping cart.
6C8E6F61-8767-47EA-A94C-434610D671F6.jpeg
 

Starzee

MobiStaff
Site Staff
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Star Greathouse
Device
iPhone Xs Max
My 365
My MobiTog 365
How about blobs, bits and dabs? Like tar on a road or stains on a table cloth?
Here’s one of my favorites, ink splat on a wall. I always thought it looked like Olyve Oyl fighting an alien. I don’t know how that ink got there, but I suspect it had to do with an art room melt down. It was right beside the art room door.
3E70D2E3-DFBA-438E-95AB-2FCF12D301AC.jpeg
 

FundyBrian

MobiLifer
Mobi Veteran
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Brian Townsend
Device
iPhone 8 Plus
My 365
My MobiTog 365
How about blobs, bits and dabs? Like tar on a road or stains on a table cloth?
Here’s one of my favorites, ink splat on a wall. I always thought it looked like Olyve Oyl fighting an alien. I don’t know how that ink got there, but I suspect it had to do with an art room melt down. It was right beside the art room door.
View attachment 121283
You mean the Popeye character, I presume. Yes it does have her profile.
 

sinnerjohn

MobiLifer
Real Name
John
Device
Pixel
C360_2013-02-12-07-34-54.jpg

Can anyone actually define what an abstract is, in simple language? I've read the definitions on the web I'm I'm still confused.
This is just a reflection on the train..........abstract to me, but maybe to others just a reflection.
Having said that, do we really want to hang labels on everything? Can't it just be a pleasing image.
 

rizole

MobiLifer
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Rizole
Device
Samsung
View attachment 121303
Can anyone actually define what an abstract is, in simple language? I've read the definitions on the web I'm I'm still confused.
This is just a reflection on the train..........abstract to me, but maybe to others just a reflection.
Having said that, do we really want to hang labels on everything? Can't it just be a pleasing image.
Abstraction is seeing the wood but not the trees. It's stripping away irrelevant detail and context till you find something that stands on it's own. It's a simplification, distillation or reduction.
Cook a beef stew and you have a beef stew. Reduce the liquid off and you have a beef casserole. Remove stuff and what you have is different.
Hussain Bolts' fastest time over 100 meters is an abstraction of who he is. Its a single measure that completely misses all his other personal qualities and traits but still sums him up to a large part of the world.
Abstraction is not very interested in the wider context so doesn't narrate.
This is not abstract. You can pull a context out of it, maybe even a story.
20181014_164559-01.jpeg


This is moving towards abstract. Although theres no narrative, if you know what to look for there's a local, cultural context.
20190120_145808-01.jpeg

This is abstract. You can recognise it as paint on a floor in a developed country but it could be anywhere and there's very little to say anymore if you don't know the background.
20181228_123340-01.jpeg

And this is very abstract. If I don't tell you what it is you're not very likely to guess.
20181228_132319-01.jpeg
 
Last edited:

terse

MobiLifer
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Ted
Device
iPhone Xs
Abstract or merely an out of focus shot in the rain?
View attachment 121308
An abstract created by taking an out-of-focus shot in the rain? If I'd taken it and really wanted it to look abstract, I'd have cropped it like this and maybe titled it "Squid Rising":

Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 12.32.46 PM.jpg


I guess we need some kind of definition to be able to talk about it, but I don't think about categories like abstract or still life when I'm working on an image -- it's something I have to come up with later if I'm entering an image in a contest, and then it gives me hell trying to decide where something fits.
 
Top