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HomeContentsThemes > Abstraction of the real

Contents

Examples
555.01   Abstraction of the real
Patterns
555.02   Abstraction of the real: Repetition
555.03   Abstraction of the real: Irregularity
555.04   Abstraction of the real: Round
Colour
555.05   Abstraction of the real: Colour
Photographers
555.06   Wilson A. Bentley: Photomicrographs of snowflakes
555.07   Aaron Siskind: Chicago
555.08   Aaron Siskind: Gloucester
555.09   Michael Jackson: Poppit Sands (2007-)
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated. 
  
Status: Collect > Document > Analyse > Improve
 
  
Examples 
  
555.01   Abstract >  Abstraction of the real 
  
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The everyday is full of abstract forms which we largely ignore. We accept the common-place of a visual environment that is made up of patterns or the lack of patterns and it is the photographer who captures the moments of beauty within. Peter Keetman is best known for the series he took in April 1953 of a Volkwagen factory[1] where machined steel created shapes similar to those in the insect world.  
  
Peter Keetman: Volkwagen factory 
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One of Peter Keetman's photographs of sand caught as it bounces chaotically on a glass incline captures a beauty that transcends the commonplace.  
  
Peter Keetman: Sand on a glass plate (1960) 
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Multiple cameras, flash and stroboscopic photography all capture movement in single photographs or sequences that reveal events that most ignore – a drop of one fluid hitting another, the bounce of a ball, a stream of water from a tap, or the play of light within a room.  
  
High speed cameras 
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To Abelardo Morell two forks under water take on an unworldly quality. The objects are commonplace but the vision to take it is far from common.  
  
Abelardo Morell: Two forks under water (1993) 
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Still lifes of glass plates, sugar cubes, roses each take from carefully selected viewpoints reveal inner complexities that most would miss.  
  
Repetition of shapes 
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Lucien Hervé and Beaumont Newall both took photographs looking upwards within urban environments producing similar views. Seemingly simple after all these combinations should be common in any urban environment but few notice the juxtapositions of line and form.  
  
Looking up 
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The study of forms surrounds us and yet is invisible in plain sight to most of us. 
  
Patterns 
  
555.02   Abstract >  Abstraction of the real: Repetition 
  
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555.03   Abstract >  Abstraction of the real: Irregularity 
  
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555.04   Abstract >  Abstraction of the real: Round 
  
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Colour 
  
555.05   Abstract >  Abstraction of the real: Colour 
  
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Photographers 
  
555.06   Abstract >  Wilson A. Bentley: Photomicrographs of snowflakes 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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The American Museum of Natural History in New York has a number of slides of snowflakes that appear to be the work of Wilson A. Bentley  
  
Attributed to Wilson A. Bentley: 35mm colour slides of snowflakes 
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   Wilson A  Bentley 
View exhibition 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
 
  
555.07   Abstract >  Aaron Siskind: Chicago 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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555.08   Abstract >  Aaron Siskind: Gloucester 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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555.09   Abstract >  Michael Jackson: Poppit Sands (2007-) 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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Many photographers have photographed beaches mostly concentrating on human activity with An Incident at Yarmouth (1892) by Paul Martin[2] and The Sunday Walkers in Deauville (1914) by Jacques-Henri Lartigue[3] being examples of this type. Few have provided long term and detailed studies of the abstract patterns but there are exceptions. Alfred Ehrhardt photographed patterns in the sands of the North Sea and in the dunes of the Kurische Nehrung (Curonian Spit)[4] in former Eastern Prussia from the 1930s onwards and his photographs are in multiple books.[5] Alfred Ehrhardt's work was a Modernist Bauhaus-inspired examination of shape and form.
 
Michael Jackson since 2007 has been photographing Poppit Sands[6] in Pembrokeshire in the southwest of Wales. Using the square format of a Hasselblad frame to best advantage Michael Jackson has created a dark and brooding series of images that lift themselves from temporal or spatial constraints. The work has similarities with the work of Minor White and Aaron Siskind being a search for the inner meaning of form but Michael Jackson does not provide his own interpretations:
I think an image needs to be born from an honest place. It needs strength and also something that cannot be described in words. Words are pretty useless when it comes to describing heartfelt reactions.[7]
The work of Michael Jackson is an abstraction of the real and leaves the viewer to add additional levels of meaning. 
  

Footnotes 
  
  1. Λ Peter Keetman, 1993, Volkswagen: A Week at the Factory, (Chronicle Books) 
      
  2. Λ Paul Martin, 1939, Victorian Snapshots, (London: Country Life); Paul Martin, n.d. [1978?], A Yarmouth Holiday, (London: Nishen Photography) [Introduction by Mark Haworth-Booth]; Bill Jay, 1973, Victorian Candid Camera: Paul Martin 1864-1944, (Newton Abbot: David and Charles) 
      
  3. Λ Jacques-Henri Lartigue, 1966, Boyhood Photos of J. H. Lartigue: The Family Album of a Gilded Age, (Lausanne, Switzerland: Ami Guichard); Martine D’Astier, Quentin Bajac & Alain Saya, 2003, Lartigue: Album of a Century, (New York: Harry N. Abrams) 
      
  4. Λ Kurische Nehrung = Curonian Spit, a geological formation originally caused by a glacial moraine which is a 98 kilometre long series of dunes now in Russia and Lithuania. 
      
  5. Λ For Alfred Ehrhardt - Kurt Dingelstedt & Alfred Ehrhardt, 1937, Alfred Ehrhardt: Das Watt, (Hamburg: Heinrich Ellermann Verlag); Alfred Ehrhardt, 1938, Alfred Ehrhardt, Die Kurische Nehrung, (Hamburg: Heinrich Ellermann Verlag); Alfred Ehrhardt, 1967, Alfred Ehrhardt, Das Wattenmeer. Formen und Strukturen, (München: Starczewski Verlag) 
      
  6. Λ Poppit Sands - Wikipedia
    (Accessed: 25 April 2014)
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poppit_Sands 
      
  7. Λ Michael Jackson "Poppit Sands" interviewed by Kai Behrmann (6 March 2014)
    (Accessed: 25 April 2014)
    www.topphotographyfilms.com/contemporary-photography/poppit-sands/ 
      

alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  

HomeContents > Further research

 
  
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General reading 
  
Dickerman, Leah (ed.) et al., 2013, Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925, (New York: he Museum of Modern Art) isbn-10: 0870708287 isbn-13: 978-0870708282 [Δ
  
 
  
Readings on, or by, individual photographers 
  
Florence Henri 
  
du Pont, Diana C., 1990, Florence Henri: Artist-Photographer of the Avant-Garde, (San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) [Δ
  
Aaron Siskind 
  
Chiarenza, Carl, 1982, Aaron Siskind: Pleasures and Terrors, (Boston: Little, Brown and Company) [Δ
  
Siskind, Aaron, 1989, Road Trip: Photographs 1980–1988, (San Francisco: Friends of Photography) [Δ
  
Minor White 
  
Bunnell, Peter, 1989, Minor White: The Eye That Shapes, (Princeton: Princeton University Art Museum) [Δ
  
 
  
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com 
  

HomeContentsPhotographers > Photographers worth investigating

 
Carl Chiarenza  (1935-) • Michael Jackson  (1966-) • Burton Pritzker  (1941-) • Arthur Siegel  (1913-1978) • Aaron Siskind  (1903-1991) • Robert Weingarten  (1941-)
HomeThemesAbstract > Abstraction of the real 
 
A wider gazeRelated topics 
  
Experimental and manipulated photography 
 
  

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Abstraction of the real

Please submit suggestions for Online Exhibitions that will enhance this theme.
Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
ThumbnailAaron Siskind: The Egan Gallery Years 1947-1954 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (May 22, 2008)
ThumbnailAbstract: Abstraction of the Real 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Improved (October 22, 2010)
ThumbnailCarl Chiarenza: The Nature of Abstraction 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (August 29, 2007)
ThumbnailStefano Nicolini: Swimming Pool (Piscine) 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (July 14, 2010)
 
  

HomeVisual indexes > Abstraction of the real

Please submit suggestions for Visual Indexes to enhance this theme.
Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
   Photographer 
  
ThumbnailDenis Brihat: Abstractions of form 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailFlorence Henri: Compositions 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailGyörgy Kepes: Wheel Spokes and Flame Form 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailHarry Callahan: Abstracts 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailHarry Callahan: Chicago - multiple prints 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailMichael Jackson: Poppit Sands 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
 
  
   Connections 
  
ThumbnailAaron Siskind - Manuel Álvarez Bravo 
ThumbnailCarleton E. Watkins - Unidentifier photographer 
ThumbnailHarry Callahan - Lisa M. Robinson 
ThumbnailMargaret Bourke-White - Peter Keetman 
ThumbnailMargaret Bourke-White - René-Jacques - Peter Keetman - Rose-Lynn Fisher 
ThumbnailUnidentified photographer - György Kepes 
ThumbnailWynn Richards - Ruth Bernard - Edward Steichen - Vilma Slomp 
 
 
  
   Themes 
  
ThumbnailAbstract: Abstraction of the real 
 
 
  
   Still thinking about these... 
  
ThumbnailPhotographic test strips 
ThumbnailSugar cubes 
 
  
Refreshed: 08 September 2014, 12:18
 
  
 
  
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