A photograph is a representation of a visual moment; in its simplest form it’s a document. Conceptually it can also be suggestive of things not actually present in the image. Or alternatively, it can be a visual expression for its own sake, not just the subjective documentation of things.
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Painting with pixels
With abstract expression the image becomes an entity unto itself. To paraphrase Aaron Siskind, the ‘father’ of photographic abstract expression, “Isolating an image from the original subject… the experience itself may be described as one of total absorption in the object.”
I’ve always been attracted to ‘found object’ art, it probably explains my fascination for shooting junk. The choice of subject and frame creates a compositional structure, a graphic rhythmic expression of what I see between objects, textures, and colors. But the shot is only the beginning.
When photos are reviewed post-production begins. Some shots that stand alone on their merit are simply enhanced, bringing out tonal quality, color, and detail. Images that have potential to be composited or abstracted are finessed to further elevate a conceptual or visual experience. I describe this as a painterly handling of the photo image. Not so much as abstract expressionist painting but similar to photorealistic painting where the focus is on the precision and detail achieved by the artist.