Peculiar Notions: 22 Eye-Catching Examples of Abstract Photography


I’m not sure how many of you (hopefully none of you) actually lose sleep thinking about abstract photography and trying to determine exactly what it is — and what it isn’t. But abstract photography is indeed something that lots of people have mulled over rather extensively since the earliest days of photography; it is something that has the potential to simultaneously puzzle and captivate anyone who encounters it.

Abstract photography always manages to weasel its way out of a clearly defined, universally accepted definition; if you were to ask 50 people to define abstract photography, you would likely get 50 different responses. I don’t see this as a bad thing — trying to formulate a perfectly succinct explanation of something so subjective is a waste of time. Abstract photography, however, does possess some common traits that can help identify it, including but not limited to obscure points of focus, unorthodox subject placement, vague or bewildering expressions of color and form, eccentric processing, and ill-defined subject matter. In short, a lot of rules are broken in this type of photography.

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about abstract photography is that you know it when you see it. The images below fit that criterion quite well. Enjoy and be inspired.

Photo by Kevin Dooley
Photo by Zoltán Vörös


Photo by Paul Stevenson

Photo by John D.

Sydney Opera House / Sydney, Australia / SML.20140315.6D.30926.P1.BW — Explored
Photo by See-ming Lee

Water is life!
Photo by Matthias Ripp

Photo by liz west

Photo by Alex

Red Dahlia
Photo by Susanne Nilsson

Photo by Francisco Antunes

Photo by Randi Hausken

Architectural flow
Photo by Kevin Dooley

Photo by Georgie Pauwels

Photo by Derek Gavey

Photo by Andy Maguire

Photo by Samuel John

Photo by geir tønnessen

PPG abstract
Photo by brian donovan

About Author

Jason Little is a photographer, author and stock shooter. You can see Jason’s photography on his Website or his Instagram feed.

Lovely, thought-provoking images.
To me, abstract photography (or painting, sculpture…) focuses less on the subject matter itself, and more some specific aspect of the subject – pattern, colour, shape, visual rhythm, texture, or similar – such that it takes quite some time to determine what the image is “of”, despite an amazing immediate recognition of what it is “about”.

Good job Jason. I am wrestling with ideas for pics for my clubs next meeting where the subject is abstract. Thanks for your contribution.

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