• $ (USD)
  • 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
Refine your search

Saved search

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

Unsaved search

A problem occurred

Hunter & Gatti, Le Fauteuil de l'oubli, Photography

Hunter & Gatti

Le Fauteuil de l'oubli, 2020
76 x 61 x 0.3 cm
Photography

$6,000

Denis Felix, Prima I, Photography

Denis Felix

Prima I, 2020
12 x 15 cm
Photography

$838

Sebastian Wickeroth, Série matter / constant, Photography

Sebastian Wickeroth

Série matter / constant, 2021
48.5 x 36.5 cm
Photography

$4,308

Corinne Cavillac, Colombes A, Photography

Corinne Cavillac

Colombes A, 2017
150 x 100 cm
Photography

$2,154

Bernard Copeaux, Robot, Photography

Bernard Copeaux

Robot, 1967
40 x 28 cm
Photography

$451 $3,470

Albert Féraud, Abstraction, Photography

Albert Féraud

Abstraction, 1970
40 x 28 cm
Photography

$798 $3,470

Paul Snell, Intersect # 201600, Photography

Paul Snell

Intersect # 201600, 2016
118 x 118 cm
Photography

$5,295

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
Photography

$500

Heidler & Heeps, Vinyl Collection 'A Hot Jazz Classic' (Turquoise), Photography

Heidler & Heeps

Vinyl Collection 'A Hot Jazz Classic' (Turquoise), 2017
48 x 48 x 0.1 cm
Photography

$557

Richard Caldicott, Untitled 109, Photography

Richard Caldicott

Untitled 109, 1999
36 x 28 cm
Photography

$1,393

Our recommendations Konstantin Kornakov, Codes esthétiques 0373, Photography

Konstantin Kornakov

Codes esthétiques 0373, 2015
60 x 45 cm
Photography

$838

Venelina Katanska, Divine, Photography

Venelina Katanska

Divine, 2015
90 x 135 cm
Photography

$538

Javier Rey, Recordings (Arias), Photography

Javier Rey

Recordings (Arias), 2020
80 x 53 x 0.1 cm
Photography

$1,000

Jérémie Lenoir, #6561087, Salt lake, Photography

Jérémie Lenoir

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

$3,350

Luuk De Haan, Nine Rectangles 1, Photography

Luuk De Haan

Nine Rectangles 1, 2017
49.5 x 42 cm
Photography

$1,881

Jason Engelund, Real (Abstract photography), Photography

Jason Engelund

Real (Abstract photography), 2020
76 x 61 cm
Photography

$2,229

Imagilaire, Dcsq by BTNHMCRWL (Amsterdam), Photography

Imagilaire

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

$957

Axel Cournac, Les Amours d'Yvette, Photography

Axel Cournac

Les Amours d'Yvette, 2020
30 x 20 cm
Photography

$96

Olivier Liégent, Canonus de caelo, Photography

Olivier Liégent

Canonus de caelo, 2014
51 x 90 x 2 cm
Photography

$1,795

Basilio Giangreco, This is not a starry night, Photography

Basilio Giangreco

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

$132

Strahil Penev, Total Screen II, Photography

Strahil Penev

Total Screen II, 2021
78 x 57 x 1 cm
Photography

$586

Nagsoul, Gina (Butts and crotches), Photography

Nagsoul

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

$467

Tenesh Webber, Passing Through 1, Photography

Tenesh Webber

Passing Through 1, 2021
50.8 x 50.8 cm
Photography

$3,553

James Godman, 070425, Photography

James Godman

070425, 2007
91.5 x 91.5 cm
Photography

$1,533

Tiantian Xu, L'encre dansant : mars, Photography

Tiantian Xu

L'encre dansant : mars, 2014
100 x 100 cm
Photography

$2,632

Elise Vincent, Lucy - série univers oniriques intérieurs, Photography

Elise Vincent

Lucy - série univers oniriques intérieurs, 2020
80 x 80 x 1 cm
Photography

$1,436

Stéphane Martin, Hydrocarbure, Photography

Stéphane Martin

Hydrocarbure, 2018
40 x 30 x 0.04 cm
Photography

$179

Dominique Moreau, Abys, Photography

Dominique Moreau

Abys, 2016
66 x 100 x 0.5 cm
Photography

$1,412

Seb Janiak, Gravity liquid 01, Photography

Seb Janiak

Gravity liquid 01, 2014
110 x 86 cm
Photography

$6,131

Robertas Ursache, A flower within a flower, Photography

Robertas Ursache

A flower within a flower, 2017
30 x 30 cm
Photography

$114

Marie-Laure Possovre, Prairie, Photography

Marie-Laure Possovre

Prairie, 2019
30 x 60 cm
Photography

$132

Aleksandros Kanellopoulos, Alien, Photography

Aleksandros Kanellopoulos

Alien, 2017
70 x 50 cm
Photography

$203

Zigmunds Orlovskis, Microbial Map of Middle Earth, Photography

Zigmunds Orlovskis

Microbial Map of Middle Earth, 2019
40 x 40 cm
Photography

$120

Pol Durruff, Sans titre, Photography

Pol Durruff

Sans titre, 2018
62 x 54 x 4 cm
Photography

$1,292

Pierre Lan, Beauté de la résilience #2, Photography

Pierre Lan

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

$1,017

Peter Marhavy, Plants can bleed too, Photography

Peter Marhavy

Plants can bleed too, 2017
40 x 60 cm
Photography

$264

Damien De Bellis, Belly's Pollens, Photography

Damien De Bellis

Belly's Pollens, 2018
70 x 70 cm
Photography

$275

Dusan Racko, Chromosome Gem, Photography

Dusan Racko

Chromosome Gem, 2018
48 x 60 cm
Photography

$308

Philippe Piccardi, Le chaos est une structure, Photography

Philippe Piccardi

Le chaos est une structure, 2017
60 x 60 cm
Photography

$209

Gianfranco Pezzot, IX: Genesi, Photography

Gianfranco Pezzot

IX: Genesi, 2017
240 x 180 cm
Photography

$18,949

Gérard Allaguillemette, Immobilités #04, Photography

Gérard Allaguillemette

Immobilités #04, 2019
20 x 150 x 0.2 cm
Photography

$299

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
Photography

$38,289

Robert Charles Mann, Solargraph 20180621-13, Photography

Robert Charles Mann

Solargraph 20180621-13, 2018
60 x 84 cm
Photography

$4,786

Our recommendations Thomas Ruff, Substrat 31 III, Photography

Thomas Ruff

Substrat 31 III, 2021
34 x 51 cm
Photography

$3,350

Arthur Hent, Self-Portrait 20.62, Photography

Arthur Hent

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

$718

Sophie Derrick, Close to nothing (Pink), Photography

Sophie Derrick

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

$1,672

Frédérique Bouet, Tracer l'horizon 11, Photography

Frédérique Bouet

Tracer l'horizon 11, 2012
60 x 60 x 4 cm
Photography

$1,609

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

Jean-Paul Baret

N°2064, 2018
100 x 65 cm
Photography

$891

Jean-Claude Byandb, Apparition() Disparition, Photography

Jean-Claude Byandb

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

$730

Roger Humbert, Série: photographie concrète numérique - IMG_2148 31.05.2012, Photography

Roger Humbert

Série: photographie concrète numérique - IMG_2148 31.05.2012, 2012
30 x 24 cm
Photography

$2,154

Sylvia Rime, Ying Yang, Photography

Sylvia Rime

Ying Yang, 2018
80 x 80 cm
Photography

$718

Serge Hamad, Temporal Perception # 56, Photography

Serge Hamad

Temporal Perception # 56, 2018
91.4 x 121.9 x 0.3 cm
Photography

$1,800

Daffke Hollstein, P090802-01, Photography

Daffke Hollstein

P090802-01, 2009
60 x 42 x 1 cm
Photography

$718

Hein Gravenhorst, Light Reflex - Rotation 5, Photography

Hein Gravenhorst

Light Reflex - Rotation 5, 1965
30 x 30 cm
Photography

$1,795

Callypso, Reflets argents, Photography

Callypso

Reflets argents, 2019
90 x 60 x 0.2 cm
Photography

$718

Our recommendations Cat Soubbotnik, Longueur d'ondes, Photography

Cat Soubbotnik

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

$8,137

Our recommendations Madeleine Gross, Rainbow Boat Scene, Photography

Madeleine Gross

Rainbow Boat Scene, 2020
45.7 x 30.5 x 2.5 cm
Photography

$2,000

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal, Sans titre, Photography

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal

Sans titre, 2018
94 x 74 x 0.2 cm
Photography

$2,034

Serigne Niang, Purple and blue flowers, Photography

Serigne Niang

Purple and blue flowers, 2021
40 x 60 cm
Photography

$467

Sjaak Korsten, Hide 1, Photography

Sjaak Korsten

Hide 1, 2017
85 x 70 x 1 cm
Photography

$1,914

Victoire d'Harcourt, A l'Infini, Photography

Victoire d'Harcourt

A l'Infini, 2019
120 x 180 cm
Photography

$5,384

Gisela Gaffoglio, Mediodía, Photography

Gisela Gaffoglio

Mediodía, 2018
75 x 48 x 1 cm
Photography

$1,077

Leandro Franco, Eclipse, Photography

Leandro Franco

Eclipse, 2015
50 x 50 cm
Photography

$957

Jakub Pasierkiewicz, Natural resemblance I, Photography

Jakub Pasierkiewicz

Natural resemblance I, 2016
75 x 100 x 0.2 cm
Photography

$1,393

Not feeling very inspired? Get your personalised selection today