Question: What should we call our abstract images?

Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
1,529
Location
Winter Haven, florida
I enter a fair number of local juried shows and galleries.
I truly do not know what category to put some of my abstracts in, recent example below. The local shows are mixed shows and I am often the only photographer. Almost all the entries are paintings by some wonderful artists. Usually 100—150 pieces entered, 80+ artists.
The vast majority of these paintings are at least partially based on a photograph.
I can not call my works paintings, they aren’t.
I don’t really want to call them photographs, as they are not realistic and do not look like my other work.
If I mention photoshop, I get a “Oh, you did it in photoshop” response, as if I put an image in photoshop and I too am amazed at what drops out. As if it is an automated process with no artistic input at all.
Mixed media doesn’t really fit.
Do I call it digital art?

How do you describe and explain your work that is obviously not a realistic representation of something?
I will be interested in our different approaches.
Thanks
Gary
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
13,972
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
I always explain the making of my tabletop photos presented here because I've been asked by a few regulars to do so. If I was to make a photo using techniques such as what you used, I would probably also explain it but only because this is a photo forum and a sufficient number of photographers are usually interested in the explanation. When I show photos to friends in my home, I explain them or not, mostly depending on my mood at the time.

I don’t really want to call them photographs, as they are not realistic and do not look like my other work.
Consider calling them digitally enhanced photos. That's probably what I would do if I was required to assign a label to them.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
13,972
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
Is the term "abstract" not allowed?
The problem as I see it is that even if you do call a photo an abstract, doing so doesn't address how the photo was made; an abstract as you know can be captured straight out of the camera with absolutely no post-processing or it can be a photo that has been highly altered during post-processing. I get the impression that Gary is trying to address what to call the image when the latter is done.
 

Commodorefirst

Admin/Moderator
Administrator
Joined
May 1, 2005
Messages
21,150
Location
Missouri
Abstract is actually a wide category, and encompasses many areas. They can be plain photographs, textured images, painted images, heavily photoshopped images, computer art etc. 10-20 years ago, as a fine arts administrator, photographer, and also in charge of a graphic lab, I judged a lot. A whole lot. It was crazy then, and it is even worse now with categories.

While I do not usually consider Wikipedia an authoritative source on certain issues, it does do a good job explaining digital art. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_art

Abstract is sometimes part of digital art, or computer art, sometimes photographic depending on manipulations of the image. Example, all of these are abstract, all are photos, only the first is digital art, or my favorite term, computer art. Deciding where to Place your entry can be difficult. Computer art is a sub category of digital art.

https://wadedowdy.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-10/p1025541979-5.jpg

https://wadedowdy.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-10/p698297373-5.jpg

https://wadedowdy.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-10/p977212911-5.jpg

https://wadedowdy.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-10/p868877624-5.jpg

https://wadedowdy.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-10/p1008581507-5.jpg

https://wadedowdy.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-10/p889962879-5.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
483
Location
MN, USA
This is almost as bad as trying to decide on a price . . ;)

First of all, it's a great image. It immediately brought me back to my visit to Cork Screw Sanctuary outside of Naples FL- whether it was or wasn't, it immediately evoked that memory.

Categories inform expectations and in my mind they are terms of convenience for the folks who put on shows. But thinking back to the number of works we've bought from different professional galleries, I can't remember one of them describing any of them in terms of a category - only medium (etching, pastel, water color/pencil, oil etc.)

While 'Digital Art' may be categorically accurate, I'd stay away from the term 'digital' because of the expectations it sets up. That is, people tend to see things through the lens of their expectations and 'sitting at your computer' just doesn't ring as artistically true as 'sitting at your easel' (though it should).

Personally, I like the term 'Manipulated Photographs' because it gives some sense of the medium and the process without setting up an expectation of what I should be looking for.
 
To me for some reason the word "manipulated" has a somewhat negative connotation and I would not use that in describing my images. To me, "Abstract" or "Abstraction" pretty much best describes some of the images I do and then leaves it up to the viewer to try and figure out what it is, if it's not something immediately identifiable, and also how it might have been achieved. Something like the abstract I shot the other day with my iPhone isn't really something one can look at and immediately guess what the source of it actually is, although they could probably figure that I had use Intentional Camera Movement to get the results I did.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
1,529
Location
Winter Haven, florida
Wow, great insight and some pretty heavy reading. Like so much in art, sounds like there is no right answer.
I am leaning towards something simple like photographic medium, and leave it at that.
I do want the word photo in the description.
At least locally, mentioning digital manipulation is seen more like a computer game than an art form.
After guidance here, and thinking about it, I think I will leave digital out of my description. At least until I change my mind again.
Thanks again, lots of smart people here. I learn a lot.
Gary
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2005
Messages
23,861
Location
Moscow, Idaho
I agree, manipulation also has negative connotations, as in fake!
What about visual abstraction, photographic abstraction, or a phrase like that?

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
1,105
Location
New York State
Digital Imaging covers this perfectly.

Such an image might have started with an image from a camera;
or it could have been painted entirely digitally.
Usually his kind of work involves the mastery of numerous highly skilled techniques and it also requires considerable skill, artistry and dexterity by the artist.
 
I usually think of digital imaging as photography, an image created in a camera and then processed in the computer but still a photographic image and recognizable as such, pretty much the original photograph simply edited a bit for clarity, correction of exposure, perhaps a bit of cropping, etc. . On the other hand, I think of digital art as artwork created on the computer, whether it be "painting" with colors and shapes, using software to extensively manipulate a photograph if one or more is being used in the final product, a combining of different images, composites, etc.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
13,972
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
I usually think of digital imaging as photography
That's understandable. However, there is so much digital imaging (images made digitally) that are neither photography because no camera was used nor art (or at least not considered art in most people's minds).

I think of digital art as artwork created on the computer, whether it be "painting" with colors and shapes, using software to extensively manipulate a photograph if one or more is being used in the final product, a combining of different images, composites, etc.
Why categorize one of the following photos as imaging and the other one as art when they both simply depict a wine bottle on a tabletop? One was made with one exposure and the other one was made with three exposures. If you saw a print of both of them, you wouldn't have any reason to call one imaging and the other one art because you wouldn't know how they were made. Indeed, using your definitions, you would have to be told how they were made to know whether either of them falls into either category.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom