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Learning to See Abstractly

Spirals - Abstract


An abstract is a work of art that depict natural objects in simplified, distorted, or exaggerated ways. It is a form of expression that does not imitate reality, but uses shapes, colors, and gestures to create meaning and emotion.

Whether we realize it or not, we see the world abstractly and only “name” the objects and subjects that matter to us at the moment.

We often get so focused on the subjects and objects in our view that we forget to see the entire composition objectively. It can be very useful to learn to see our subject abstractly, as shapes held together by similar colors, values, and saturation. Abstracts can also contain lines, curves, textures, and patterns.

Abstraction places the focus on the visual mood and personality of the image rather than the realist content. Just about any subject can become an abstract – paintings, architecture, nature (trees, flowers, etc.) to name a few.

Here are some techniques for creating an abstract:

a close up of a Gerbera Daisy

Zoom in on the subject to explore and enhance the details!

Birch Trees abstract

Use Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) to introduce color, texture and movement.

Fall leaves

Use blocks of color for a simple and stunning image.

Closeup of a colorful leaf

Incorporate simple continuous lines to create forms and shapes.

Georgetown Glow Abstract

Emphasize geometry, bold colors and patterns.

Scenes in Washington, DC - Abstract

Create an image using the multiple exposure function.

Try your hand at creating an abstract image and see what you can create – and send it to WPS~at We’d love to see it!

Still not sure? WPS has an Abstract Photo Safari in Adams Morgan on July 22 that can help! Book your space now!

Photos by Sherryl Belinsky

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