Abstraction in Action

This week in class we explored the notion of abstracting an idea from a photograph into instructions for recreating the same aesthetic. What I found particularly interesting about this activity was the way that different people interpreted contrasting aspects of the same photo – which when taken over a sequence produced a unique emerging visual.

For example, I was given a photograph of a blank wall with filtered, shadowy sunlight that formed diagonal lines of the wall. I was most struck by this dynamic of the diagonal lines, and chose this as my focused abstraction. My instructions were:

“Take a photo in landscape orientation and make sure the screen is filled with parallel diagonal lines”

The results, as taken by @rachelteno were as follows:

Meanwhile, another classmate who had the same photo to begin with took the filtered sunlight as their basis for abstraction. Their instructions were:

“Take a photo of streaked rays of sun on a plain surface”

And the results, as executed by @kadisoncole were:

As demonstrated, there are two very different emergent aesthetics – dependent on our interpretations of the main theme of the photo. I hope to explore this more for my final assignment. It would be very interesting to give a set of instructions to many people, for example 100, and create a series of photos that would all be very different, yet have a recurring theme.

Another thing that I would be curious to explore an a great scale such as this would be the use of diagonal lines. Even with the four photos taken for this small task it was an interesting dynamic that emerged. If I recreated this on a large scale of, say, 20×20 photos, I believe a very captivating design would resonate. This way, I am still using the abstraction of a visual into instructions: and it would allow for participation and interpretation from many different people.

Featured Image: “Photography” by Virginia State Parks, licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

2 thoughts on “Abstraction in Action

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