Driven To Abstraction


Increasingly, I am drawn to dreamy, abstract, almost painterly qualities that can be achieved with multiple exposures, long exposures, intentional camera movements and selective focusing. These effects can be created in-camera or combined in post editing. This is very much experimental photography and I am captivated by the dimensions of energy, movement and flux that can be conveyed to create multiple layers of interpretation. You may say that I am driven to abstraction.

This style of photo art transcends the limits of sharply focused, conventional image capture. The Freedom from documenting the literal, to expressing myself with an alternative vision and intent, is both liberating and exciting. The combinations of subject motion with the movement of composition allows elements of the image to combine organically; a graceful fluidity creating elegant brushstrokes of light.

There is an amount of chance and luck that determines the result; sometimes completely unexpected. With practice, the results can be better determined and controlled. From seemingly nowhere, the image appears and takes form. The awe and excitement in those moments of capture is similar to the seduction of traditional darkroom processing. With careful editing, textures and colors can be enhanced and options to combine additional elements may be considered.

If you are interested in creating these type of images on your iPhone then you’ll possibly be surprised that it really is quite simple. I use a number of long exposure apps, my favourite is Slow Shutter Cam, with this app you can set exposure time and blur strength. On normal long exposure shots you need to ensure that you use a tripod to reduce camera-shake or an app such as Spectre Camera that offers handheld results. The difference with this style of image capture is that I want to create compositional movement therefore image stabilisation is not a concern. By setting the exposure time to approximately 1 second and a blur strength of maximum, I gently move the camera during the exposure.

Alternatively, you may decide to create your art entirely in post production, layering and blending numerous frames to create a single image. I have crated images that sometimes are a combination of in-camera techniques with layered elements. Apps like Snapseed, Pixelmator, Affinity and Superimpose X all allow multi-layering and blending.

Ultimately, how we create our images doesn’t really matter; there is no right or wrong way to find your creative voice. Harnessing whatever techniques and tools that work for you in the creation of a final image that connects with the viewer, is everything. My interest in this style of photography is fuelled by the pursuit to record not just what I see but also what I feel. In turn, I hope that the viewer can connect to the image by overlaying their own experiences and emotions.

Why not give it a try? Ask me questions. Let me know what you think, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your results. Remember, it’s your camera, your photo, your rules.

All images created on iPhone and edited on iPad.