collection 10

Glorious Abstractions

A collection of wonderful anonymous photographic abstractions, from the sublime to the surreal.

 

 

               This photograph of a misty lake in the late 1930s reminds me of the American abstract painter Adolph Gottlieb (1903 - 1974).

One of my favorite genres of vernacular photography is the abstraction. Nature and man-made things provide it everywhere you look. By accident or intent, abstractions take us into another world, and help us see an alternate reality.

 
 

Click on any image for larger view.

Above, left: A Waterfall, c. 1920 and (right) a view of New York City, c. 1930.  Both share similar qualities of light and dark, positive and negative space.

 
 

Surreal little image!
c. 1940

Military formation.

 
 

The pride of knitting a new pair of knee length white socks is apparent
by the fact that they set up this backdrop outside to photograph them. 
c. 1915

 


                Accidental double exposure.

            Gelatin silver photograph mounted on card by Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley (1865 - 1931)


            Gelatin silver photograph mounted on card by Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley (1865 - 1931)

 
              Winding road snaking through the American West. c. 1920


              Winding road snaking through the American West.
c. 1920

 


Early photomicrograph through microscope.

A silver gelatin photograph with a scratched negative.


A silver gelatin photograph with a scratched negative.

               This white and black composition of a what appears to be a freshly painted front porch reminds me of the work of the great American photographer Walker Evans (1903 - 1975).

 
 

Man in hat adds focus to abstract view, looking down.

      It’s rare when a photograph of a car brings forth such abstract complexity.

      It’s rare when a photograph of a car brings forth such abstract complexity.

                  It’s hard to get any more abstract than this view of a Mexican                   church and balcony. The transposition of light and dark shapes                   are simply magnificent.

                  It’s hard to get any more abstract than this view of a Mexican
                  church and balcony. The transposition of light and dark shapes
                  are simply magnificent.

 
 
             Talk about glorious! This dynamic photograph is a visual feast of line and pattern, with composition so powerful throughout that the subject reading a magazine is secondary. 

             Talk about glorious! This dynamic photograph is a visual feast of line and pattern, with composition so powerful throughout that the subject reading a magazine is secondary. 

 
 
Abstraction opens the door to a new universe in seeing. With photography, where one so often expects to see “reality”—viewing it can be especially confounding to the eye.
— John Foster
 
                       Looking down in photography tends to flatten things out. Though views like this do not always yield wonderful                       abstract results like this—but when it does, you know it instantly.

                       Looking down in photography tends to flatten things out. Though views like this do not always yield wonderful
                      abstract results like this—but when it does, you know it instantly.

 
 

Bow of a ship.