• € (EUR)
  • Need some help

Abstract Photography

Abstract photography, also sometimes known as experimental photography, is the art of creating a visual effect with an image that has no immediate attachment to reality, by using processes like focusing, framing, or retouching and editing the photograph in post-processing. For example, an abstract picture can sometimes isolate a fragment of an ordinary image to remove it from its original context and give it a surrealist edge. It can also involve playing with blurring, shadows or lighting, textures or unexpected forms. The image is often created with traditional photographic material (analog or digital cameras, dark room, computer). However, artists can also manipulate and alter the film in order to achieve the desired effect.

The first images known as “abstract photographs" appeared shortly after the invention of photography in the 1830s. In 1842, John William Draper created a new type of images with a spectroscope. This machine dispersed light beams and produced a phenomenon that was previously invisible to the eye. The negatives he produced had nothing in common with the works of other photographers, and they opened the way for innovative photographic works. Draper perceived these images as a scientific discovery, not as artworks, but today his method is widely acclaimed by critics for its inherent originality.

In England, Anna Atkins was also a pioneer of abstract photography; she was the first one to place dry algae on cyanotype paper. This scientific experiment improved photographic techniques by creating unique blue and white images. Moreover, the discovery of X-ray and radioactivity in 1896 provoked a fascination for the invisible and many photographers were immediately drawn to these phenomena. French photographer Louis Darget attempted to capture mental processes by pressing unexposed plates to the foreheads of his and trying to get them to project images from their minds onto the plates. He carried out thousands of similar experiments.

It was only during the 20th century that abstract photography truly became recognised as an artistic practice. Surrealism and cubism started replacing impressionism, especially after the Salon d'Automne in 1903 in Paris. This event highlighted new talents like Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp… Ten years later, in New York, Wassily Kandinsky, Mondrian, Braque and Delaunay shocked audiences. The freedom coming from abstract art inspired some of the greatest photographers to break the rules.

Erwin Quedenfeldt exhibited the first abstract photographs in Cologne in 1914. From 1920 to 1930, Europe became the epicenters of conceptual photography with artists such as Jaroslav Rossler, Josef Sudeck, and Rössler exploring abstraction.

Post-processing became more central to photographic works in the 60s and the 70s, with artists like Josef Newman. Eventually, the growing popularity of computers in the 90s and the 2000s opened up infinite possibilities for creating original work. Some contemporary photographers like Peter Klasen, Dominic Harris, or Nicolas Dubreuille combine photography with other mediums.

Find them all on Artsper with our unique selection of abstract photographs.

Collector’s Guide: Collecting Fine Art Photographs

Read more

Saved search

Your search is accessible from the favorites tab > My favorite searches

Unsaved search

A problem occurred

Paul Snell, Bleed # 202021, Photography

Paul Snell

Bleed # 202021, 2021
80 x 300 cm


Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarreye, Yam seeds in my grandmother’s country, Photography

Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarreye

Yam seeds in my grandmother’s country, 2020
180 x 120 x 3 cm


Gisela Gaffoglio, Energía vital, Photography

Gisela Gaffoglio

Energía vital, 2021
90 x 70 x 2 cm


Serge Hamad, Himmel #3, Photography

Serge Hamad

Himmel #3, 2018
101.6 x 76.2 cm


Jean-Robert Franco, Mangia, mangia, Photography

Jean-Robert Franco

Mangia, mangia, 2021
80 x 80 x 1 cm


Linda Chapman, Drawn Light, Photography

Linda Chapman

Drawn Light, 2020
40 x 40 x 0.1 cm


Petr Strnad, Circle Grammar #2, Photography

Petr Strnad

Circle Grammar #2, 2021
45.8 x 45.2 x 0.1 cm


Christophe Gadea, Kiwi, Photography

Christophe Gadea

Kiwi, 2021
40 x 40 x 1 cm


Carter Mull, Pascal’s Wager (Dream of a Perfect Life), Photography

Carter Mull

Pascal’s Wager (Dream of a Perfect Life), 2004
63.5 x 82.6 x 50 cm


Anja Diabaté, Metamorphosis II, Photography

Anja Diabaté

Metamorphosis II, 2021
60 x 40 x 3 cm


Gina Vor, Prussian Blue 4, Photography

Gina Vor

Prussian Blue 4, 2020
29.7 x 21 x 0.1 cm


Mihaela Ivanova, Winter wind II, Photography

Mihaela Ivanova

Winter wind II, 2012
50 x 50 x 0.2 cm


Angeles Peña, Hielos de San Rafael (Patagonia), Photography

Angeles Peña

Hielos de San Rafael (Patagonia), 2015
99.1 x 69.9 x 0.3 cm


Venelina Katanska, Divine, Photography

Venelina Katanska

Divine, 2015
90 x 135 cm


Richard Caldicott, Untitled 109, Photography

Richard Caldicott

Untitled 109, 1999
36 x 28 cm


Jason Engelund, Go, Photography

Jason Engelund

Go, 2021
50.8 x 40.6 x 0.1 cm


Luuk De Haan, Nine Rectangles 1, Photography

Luuk De Haan

Nine Rectangles 1, 2017
49.5 x 42 cm


Our recommendations Konstantin Kornakov, Codes esthétiques 0373, Photography

Konstantin Kornakov

Codes esthétiques 0373, 2015
60 x 45 cm

€609 €700

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal, Sans titre, Photography

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal

Sans titre, 2018
94 x 74 x 0.2 cm


Joëlle Acoulon, 24 février 2018, Photography

Joëlle Acoulon

24 février 2018, 2018
60 x 70 cm


Jérémie Lenoir, #6561087, Salt lake, Photography

Jérémie Lenoir

#6561087, Salt lake, 2017
80 x 80 x 0.5 cm


Mladen Yordanov, Still Life 3, Photography

Mladen Yordanov

Still Life 3, 2020
66 x 94.5 cm


Tenesh Webber, Passing Through 1, Photography

Tenesh Webber

Passing Through 1, 2021
50.8 x 50.8 cm


Strahil Penev, Total Screen II, Photography

Strahil Penev

Total Screen II, 2021
78 x 57 x 1 cm


James Godman, 070425, Photography

James Godman

070425, 2007
91.5 x 91.5 cm


Laetitia Lesaffre, De-Sol-Es, enfance exilée n°1, Photography

Laetitia Lesaffre

De-Sol-Es, enfance exilée n°1, 2017
50 x 50 x 4 cm


Seb Janiak, Gravity Bulle d'air 01, Photography

Seb Janiak

Gravity Bulle d'air 01, 2013
110 x 86 cm


Tiantian Xu, L'encre dansant : février, Photography

Tiantian Xu

L'encre dansant : février, 2014
100 x 100 cm


Robertas Ursache, A flower within a flower, Photography

Robertas Ursache

A flower within a flower, 2017
30 x 30 cm


Basilio Giangreco, This is not a starry night, Photography

Basilio Giangreco

This is not a starry night, 2020
26 x 40 cm


Marie-Laure Possovre, Prairie, Photography

Marie-Laure Possovre

Prairie, 2019
30 x 60 cm


Dusan Racko, Chromosome Gem, Photography

Dusan Racko

Chromosome Gem, 2018
48 x 60 cm


Olivier Liégent, Canonus de caelo, Photography

Olivier Liégent

Canonus de caelo, 2014
51 x 90 x 2 cm


Axel Cournac, Les Amours d'Yvette, Photography

Axel Cournac

Les Amours d'Yvette, 2020
30 x 20 cm


Pierre Lan, Beauté de la résilience #2, Photography

Pierre Lan

Beauté de la résilience #2, 2020
50 x 76 cm


Gianfranco Pezzot, IX: Genesi, Photography

Gianfranco Pezzot

IX: Genesi, 2017
240 x 180 cm


Peter Marhavy, Plants can bleed too, Photography

Peter Marhavy

Plants can bleed too, 2017
40 x 60 cm


Damien De Bellis, Belly's Pollens, Photography

Damien De Bellis

Belly's Pollens, 2018
70 x 70 cm


Aleksandros Kanellopoulos, Alien, Photography

Aleksandros Kanellopoulos

Alien, 2017
70 x 50 cm


Zigmunds Orlovskis, Microbial Map of Middle Earth, Photography

Zigmunds Orlovskis

Microbial Map of Middle Earth, 2019
40 x 40 cm


Philippe Piccardi, Le chaos est une structure, Photography

Philippe Piccardi

Le chaos est une structure, 2017
60 x 60 cm


Valérie Gho, Cyanotype numéro 6, Photography

Valérie Gho

Cyanotype numéro 6, 2018
20 x 20 cm


Gérard Allaguillemette, Immobilités #04, Photography

Gérard Allaguillemette

Immobilités #04, 2019
20 x 150 x 0.2 cm


Robert Charles Mann, Solargraph 20180621-13, Photography

Robert Charles Mann

Solargraph 20180621-13, 2018
60 x 84 cm


Arthur Hent, Self-Portrait 20.62, Photography

Arthur Hent

Self-Portrait 20.62, 2020
40 x 30 x 2.5 cm


Sophie Derrick, Close to nothing (Pink), Photography

Sophie Derrick

Close to nothing (Pink), 2015
42 x 30 x 8 cm


Lilia El Golli, Corruption(s) – La Plume, Photography

Lilia El Golli

Corruption(s) – La Plume, 2015
40 x 60 cm


Jacques Bosser, Oro, Photography

Jacques Bosser

Oro, 2019
9 x 18 x 4 cm


Sylvia Rime, Ying Yang, Photography

Sylvia Rime

Ying Yang, 2018
80 x 80 cm


Our recommendations Jean-Paul Baret, N°2064, Photography

Jean-Paul Baret

N°2064, 2018
100 x 65 cm


Shinji Nagabe, Objets saisis n07, Photography

Shinji Nagabe

Objets saisis n07, 2018
34 x 34 x 1 cm


Jean-Claude Byandb, Apparition() Disparition, Photography

Jean-Claude Byandb

Apparition() Disparition, 2015
60 x 45 x 0.1 cm


Laurence Winram, Contemplation, Photography

Laurence Winram

Contemplation, 2011
84.1 x 59.4 x 0.2 cm


Imagilaire, Dcsq by BTNHMCRWL (Amsterdam), Photography


Dcsq by BTNHMCRWL (Amsterdam), 2019
60 x 60 x 0.5 cm


Josef Nadj, Untitled #10, Photography

Josef Nadj

Untitled #10, 2012
25 x 30 cm


Our recommendations Cat Soubbotnik, Longueur d'ondes, Photography

Cat Soubbotnik

Longueur d'ondes, 2012
168 x 160 x 3 cm


Tony Soulié, Sans titre, Photography

Tony Soulié

Sans titre, 2020
40 x 50 cm


Victoire d'Harcourt, A l'Infini, Photography

Victoire d'Harcourt

A l'Infini, 2019
120 x 180 cm


Yumi Watanabe, Petals-After Image of Love, Photography

Yumi Watanabe

Petals-After Image of Love, 2017
25 x 25 x 10 cm


Hein Gravenhorst, Light Reflex - Rotation 5, Photography

Hein Gravenhorst

Light Reflex - Rotation 5, 1965
30 x 30 cm

€1,350 €1,500

Catherine Leutenegger, Slice 001b, Failed 3D-printed Cross Section of a Human Torso, Top, Photography

Catherine Leutenegger

Slice 001b, Failed 3D-printed Cross Section of a Human Torso, Top, 2015
50 x 65 cm


Roman Koenig, Serie New World #3, Photography

Roman Koenig

Serie New World #3, 2016
90 x 60 x 5 cm


Our recommendations Barnaby Irish, Deep Field 1, Photography

Barnaby Irish

Deep Field 1, 2019
38 x 28.5 cm


Nagsoul, Gina (Butts and crotches), Photography


Gina (Butts and crotches), 2020
60 x 40 cm


60 Artworks on 2142

Scroll on the top of the page

Not feeling very inspired? Get your personalised selection today