A rather ambiguous terminology some would say. Abstract photography is a genre of photography that lends itself to the exploration of various means of communication. When shooting abstract, it is important to have a good visual awareness about your subject, as abstract photography relies on shapes, forms and texture that is representative to its true to form.
Abstract whether in art or photography form, can be very personal. We are all familiar with Pollock, Kandinsky and Picasso, great 20th century artists that painted based on their environment and live experiences. Like them or not, they were great painters that had portrayed great visual content in abstract form.
Choosing a subject of abstract form can be very challenging. However, abstract photography can be very fulfilling, in that, it opens the mind to a brand new visual experience, one that stimulates the imagination beyond the normality of perspective.
Abstract photography is not just about shooting the image in its entirety. The perception of abstract photography has intrinsic values. The photographer not only concentrates on lines, forms and textures, but the compatibility of colours along with composition to achieve a great image. Abstract photography is the abstraction of part of an image that makes up the whole image. You remove all aspects of the image to reveal its artistic value.
It is amazing what you can find to photograph in an abstract way. Look around your home, your food cupboard, your fruit bowl and jewellery, all these make an ideal subject and will challenge your creativeness. Most abstract photography requires close focus to do it any justice. For example; you can use a 110mm macro lens that allows you to be 2cm away from your subject or, any short lens that allows you to focus in closely.
To make your subject even more interesting, try spraying water on it or vary your lighting with various filters. This will not just enhance the image, but will transform it into something captivating and intriguing to the viewer. When editing your image in Photoshop, de-saturating the image to black and white and then adding little colour brings out key aspects of the image.
In essence, abstract photography is not a true reflection of the natural world. This is the beauty of it. It concentrates on a certain characteristic of the subject in an aesthetic way, and so the abstraction of a particular image becomes art. It draws you in and challenges you, it can move you, and it compels you to ask questions. It can be minimal, busy, colourful, dark and mysterious. You do not have to be a professional photographer to produce good abstract photography, nevertheless having some knowledge of the equipment and a good visual awareness will make this a fun thing to do whether for a hobby or professional pursuits.