Light and Abstraction
The world is made up of objects. To most these objects are defined by their function, a chair is for sitting on, a TV is for watching and a tea party banner is for laughing at. Photographers also see objects in terms of function but they also see something else, they see an object in terms of how it modifies light.
The moment the photographer stops thinking in terms of function and is thinking purely in terms of modification to light he or she is working in the abstract.
This is a continuum that all photographers exist on. From the most hard bitten paparazzi sleaze ball to the most infuriatingly pompous aesthete.
An object can only really do three things to light
It can absorb light
It can reflect light
It can allow light to pass through.
The object almost always does a combination of at least two of these things:
Only a surface that is a true black absorbs all light
Only a perfect mirror reflects all light
Only perfect glass would allow all light to pass through
A related tangent
A while ago I discussed negative space
Look at the image above and you can see the glass and the bottle
Now look past that and focus just on the shape between them
Let the importance of the bottle and glass recede
When it doesn’t matter what they are
You are thinking in the abstract
The first three images are about reflection
These ones are about all three properties.
The imperfections of the wine glass and the orange ball make the shots interesting
Things modify light
That’s about it. In the words of the famous song
I thought I’d something more to say….