"The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as of the pen." -Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, 1936

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Photo Journal/Exercise 3: MUSIC - Abstraction & Staged

Pick out a song that you like from a band or any musician. It could be instrumental or with lyrics. Then try to photograph something inspired by that music. Get image ideas from its melody, its rhythm/beats, its lyrics, etc. Be poetic. Be artistic.

There are 2 sub-challenges for this exercise.
The first is to shoot abstract photos, and the second is to create staged visualizations of it.
Make about 25 photos of a combination of both types, abstract & staged. Then choose the best 3 for each. Both types are very different in their thinking and process of creating.

The goal of this exercise is to have us translate the language of music into the visual language, which most of the time can speak about similar things, such as rhythm/pattern, melody/line, moods/textures or colors, and so on --this might be for the abstract photos. But also for visualizing a song into a more illustrative and realistic image by staging it. For examples of staged photos you could look at the work of Gregory Crewdson. And for abstract photo examples, you can just go to flickr.com and type in "abstract" in the search box. All photos tagged abstract will show up.

There are several tips for making photo abstractions with your camera:
1. Make it blurry (have either your camera or your subject matter move)
...There's a group in flickr that tosses their cameras with the timer set, so that it'll shoot while flying in the air... (this technique is not suggested though =D )
2. Make extreme close-ups until the subject matter is unidentifiable or almost unidentifiable
3. Make long exposures (at night with moving lights for example)
4. If you have a camera set for infrared, or you have special lenses/filters, use them, but always remember to make your subject matter be vague.
5. Look for strange objects (or their shadows...)

Here are some examples of abstractions I did with koi fish...

They resemble abstract paintings.

I see them as paintings on canvases with expressive and fiery brush strokes.
These were done with some croppings.

now here you can see the painters...
(btw, this one doesn't count as an abstract photo since you can immediately identify the subject matter and it shows a clear setting and space; only the top two count as abstracts)