Our July competition drew the largest number of entries of 2013! That was really encouraging, the more so since many had said the ‘Abstract’ theme was ‘hard’. Given that, it was especially gratifying that our judge — Jann Lenihan — commented on the high quality of the entries. Is it that ‘hard’ subjects challenge us to put more care and thought into the photographs we make? If so, this must be a good thing. Hard subjects are the way to go!
We have been very fortunate in the calibre of adjudicators we’ve had recently, and Jann was no exception. Having a background in painting, and qualifications in photography and the teaching of art and photography, meant she was able to bring some very useful commentary to her judging.
Jann pointed out that the principles of photography are about how we use the compositional elements of line, shape, form, light, shadow, tone, texture, contrast, and colour.
In representational photography, like landscapes or portraits, we use these elements alongside devices such as the rule of thirds, to draw attention to or emphasise the main point of the image.
The difference, as Jann noted, is that in abstract photography the way we use the compositional elements “… becomes the subject matter”.
Jann distinguished the nature of ‘abstract’ photographs from our earlier ‘What is it?’ theme, by noting that “… abstract images are not made just by making the items photographed ambiguous.” Abstract images can be successfully made using clearly recognisable things where it is not the things, but the way we use line, form, texture, colour, and so on, that defines what the image is about.
Each of the photographs featured here demonstrates this idea superbly.
Well done to all the photographers who entered the competition.