“Abstract thinking is another way of imagining –
imagining is mental image making”
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” Frank Zappa
Klaus Rossler © copyright
Digging through old stock – much of it film – I came upon a common, but often overlooked aspect of photography – and imagery in general. Patterns, textures and rhythms – pictures that have everything a good image could ask for – except a focal point. Here we are not concentrating on a main point of interest, but on colours, shapes, lines … repeating themselves in an organized or un-organized way … seemingly leaving the boundaries of the frame, suggesting endless continuation. When the repetition seems to move in a certain direction, e.g. ripples on water, we call it rhythm – a visual energy and interval similar to acoustic energy in music. Images like this are always cutouts of a larger body, defined by our decision where to cut with the square of the view finder, which actually acts more like a cooky cutter rather than surrounding – ‘framing’ – something entirely. Looking at things that way sharpens the eye for the recognition of the basic elements, called abstraction (not to confuse with ‘non-representational’) – as opposed to being occupied with the notion of ‘the object’, its name or label. Pointing the camera, let’s say at an area of pebbles or wild flowers, no one flower or pebble is more important than the next. But we have to make the decision which ones, and how many, to include in the frame and which ones to exclude – where to draw the line. And if there is movement or direction, we have to decide in which way we want it to run through our frame. Opportunities for such explorations are plentiful and all around us. Not only will seeing that way improve all – even documentary – photography, but also our visual experience in everyday life.
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