Tag Archives: shapes

Setting Quiet: Use of Abstract Photography


Setting Quiet is a new piece that I created on a whim.  I’ve made abstract art using a camera before with some success.  Unfortunately, the colors and the focus are often unusable.


When a piece does work, it usually falls within the realm of a macro photographic form.  This transpires to where the subject is so closely focused and cropped it becomes abstract in its own right.


Consider that abstraction in photography is about presenting an image and having it engineered in such a way as to evoke a viewer’s response without necessarily being able to guess what the subject of the picture was.  Normally, having a close focus or a very narrow aperture accomplishes this using photographic equipment.


But that is just part of the story of Setting Quiet, I was curious about what would happen if we dared to open the rule book and go rogue.  So, I generated an image that hyper focuses the subject in the opposite than normal way.  The result is Setting Quiet.


In this particular photographic work of art, the colors inspire you to relax.  Relaxation and reflection are the mission behind this photographic work.  It identifies with that time of the day that inspires us to take a step back, ignore our stresses for the day, and experience now.  The blurred lines of the central circle alter your perception of light to dark hues while satisfying any need for recognizable form.


While we cherish the brightness of the whites and purples, we slowly descend into a realm of phantasmal blues and darker hues.  A relaxing commentary meant to nurture enjoyment of the day as we spend it.

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Nature’s Puzzle Fun: Sunflowers and Shapes

This sunflower is an amazing example of living geometric engineering. I know of several middle school math teachers that would giggle with delight at this mouth-watering choice of shapes and forms.


As you view the sunflower carefully, the discovery of cones, triangles, circles and even pentagrams suddenly show themselves in a magical and alluring way.  Nature creates a puzzle of various designs and structures all the while implementing them in a living plant.


The amazing thing is the shapes found inside each shape.  Notice the focus on the band of black cones, each ending with 3 dimensional shapes in a star pattern on top.  All of those star patterns connect to a cone shape that sprouts majestically from a small pentagram.  Yet, all together, they form a sweeping black band in a semi-circular pattern that divides the work and flower into each part.


This band separates the ever-increasing density of the sloping conical-shaped face and the flat expanding petals of the flower.  Even the colors divide into separate areas due to that black and yellow band.  Nature even allows colors to join in this dance of geometry.  The sun-kissed greens of the undeveloped seeds slope towards the more traditional sunflower yellow of the petals.  Indeed, the sunlight striking the petals actually enhances our perception of the color changing from green to black towards yellow.


Only nature exists in such a perfect form.  All of these shapes and colors exist for attraction.  Sure, we has humans enjoy the fragrance, sight, and complexity of the flowers but it irresistible to the insects like butterflies and bees that the plant wished to attract.  Such beauty allows a perfect winning scenario. The sunflower becomes pollinated, the insects get a meal, and we get to decorate and have a snack of sunflower seeds.  Perfect wins all around!

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Are You Out of Shape? Photographic Art Elements

We are always being reminded how easy it is to get “out of shape”   or how we need to “get in shape.”  Sometimes we are even told to “shape up”.  I’ve often wondered at the reasoning behind this.  It is this misuse of the word shape that brings us to our next topic.  The next element of art is the simple shape.  What is a shape?  To have a shape you must manipulate a pair of lines.

1.  Two or more lines that start in the same space and travel different directions.

2.  Somewhere in their travels the lines will twist or turn, curve or careen in directions that inevitably end up with them meting again at a different place then when they started.

3.  Overly thick lines will result in a filled shape, while lines along a border will result in an empty one.


That’s it.  If you draw a line  curving in angles from 0° to 180°  and another line from 180° to 360°  you create a circle.  If you draw 4 lines that change at 90° angels to where they connect with one another you have a square.  These are simple shapes. 


Shapes in photography are very important for the same reason they are in painting or design work.  They communicate emotions to the viewer.

Keyboard photograph
CC By katerha

Geometric shapes with sharp angles like squares and triangles will give a cold or very strong emotion to the item in the picture. Think of a row of building blocks.  They represent order and power.

Photograph of Sushi http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmv/15900918/sizes/m/in/photostream/
CCSA by jmv

Circles and blobs are a biomorphic shape.  They have a much more fluid and a natural emotion attached to them.  The line of a circle can curve gradually towards it’s meeting with the other part of the line.  Circles are not in a hurry.   Think of an arch,  or the edge of a flower.  The circle of a flower petals distribute the color of the flower by spreading it out, much like the weight distributed in an arch.  The color of the flower or physical weight of a doorway flows through the circle of an arch.


So, shapes can represent order, chaos, power and grace.  The way you manipulate them in a picture will draw an emotional response from the viewer.  Shapes are either solid or open.  Remember that too shapes can influence a picture by making it confusing, while not enough shapes in your art will make it bland and lifeless.

Thus, I’m happy to say that I’m not “out of shape”.  I have a shape. In fact, I am a shape and, thankfully, the shape that I represent is uniquely mine.

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