• $ (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

Saved search

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

Unsaved search

A problem occurred

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal, Sans titre, Photography

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal

Sans titre, 2018
94 x 74 x 0.2 cm
Photography

$2,102

Serge Hamad, Temporal Perception # 126-b, Photography

Serge Hamad

Temporal Perception # 126-b, 2019
91.4 x 121.9 x 0.3 cm
Photography

$2,250

Fabrice Quignette, Toys for kids 1, Photography

Fabrice Quignette

Toys for kids 1, 2021
60 x 60 x 1 cm
Photography

$767

Mauren Brodbeck, Midtown 05, Photography

Mauren Brodbeck

Midtown 05, 2020
80 x 65.2 cm
Photography

$4,452

Antoine Gaussin, Evasion 2, Photography

Antoine Gaussin

Evasion 2, 2020
90 x 190 x 5 cm
Photography

$6,399

Emmanuel Segaut, 5 couleurs Gaîté, Photography

Emmanuel Segaut

5 couleurs Gaîté, 2021
20 x 75 x 3.6 cm
Photography

$4,699

Thierry Dubrunfaut, Dsc1872, Photography

Thierry Dubrunfaut

Dsc1872, 2012
90 x 60 x 2.5 cm
Photography

$1,978

Sérgio Ranalli, L'eau I, Photography

Sérgio Ranalli

L'eau I, 2021
150 x 100 x 5 cm
Photography

$3,462

Anne-Sophie Granjon, Pastel, Photography

Anne-Sophie Granjon

Pastel, 2017
80 x 120 x 3 cm
Photography

$4,946

Gina Vor, Prussian Blue 4, Photography

Gina Vor

Prussian Blue 4, 2020
29.7 x 21 x 0.1 cm
Photography

$136

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

Mihaela Ivanova, Winter wind II, Photography

Mihaela Ivanova

Winter wind II, 2012
50 x 50 x 0.2 cm
Photography

$754

Richard Caldicott, Chance/Fall (4), Photography

Richard Caldicott

Chance/Fall (4), 2010
127 x 102 cm
Photography

$11,952

Paul Snell, Bleed # 202002, Photography

Paul Snell

Bleed # 202002, 2020
180 x 115 cm
Photography

$6,624

Venelina Katanska, Syngonia caldera, Photography

Venelina Katanska

Syngonia caldera, 2018
70 x 47 cm
Photography

$346

Jason Engelund, Go, Photography

Jason Engelund

Go, 2021
50.8 x 40.6 x 0.1 cm
Photography

$1,224

Tenesh Webber, Spiral II, Photography

Tenesh Webber

Spiral II, 2001
50.8 x 50.8 cm
Photography

$4,032

Joëlle Acoulon, 24 février 2018, Photography

Joëlle Acoulon

24 février 2018, 2018
60 x 70 cm
Photography

$915

Seb Janiak, Gravity Bulle d'air 01 (Large), Photography

Seb Janiak

Gravity Bulle d'air 01 (Large), 2013
160 x 125 cm
Photography

$8,640

Paula Guagliardi, Wet Cyan I, Photography

Paula Guagliardi

Wet Cyan I, 2020
70 x 50 x 0.5 cm
Photography

$400

Mladen Yordanov, Still Life - Sculpture - 1, Photography

Mladen Yordanov

Still Life - Sculpture - 1, 2020
55 x 45 cm
Photography

$359

Jérémie Lenoir, #6561087, Salt lake, Photography

Jérémie Lenoir

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

$3,462

Our recommendations Konstantin Kornakov, Codes esthétiques 0373, Photography

Konstantin Kornakov

Codes esthétiques 0373, 2015
60 x 45 cm
Photography

$866

Strahil Penev, Total Screen II, Photography

Strahil Penev

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

$606

Dusan Racko, Chromosome Gem, Photography

Dusan Racko

Chromosome Gem, 2018
48 x 60 cm
Photography

$318

Gianfranco Pezzot, VIII: The Unselfconsciousness Of Eros, Photography

Gianfranco Pezzot

VIII: The Unselfconsciousness Of Eros, 2017
240 x 180 cm
Photography

$19,584

Daniel Nikolic, Melankolia N°44, Photography

Daniel Nikolic

Melankolia N°44, 2017
50 x 50 x 1 cm
Photography

$346

Claude Billès, Banyuls, Photography

Claude Billès

Banyuls, 2020
60 x 110 x 2 cm
Photography

$2,349

Luuk De Haan, Timeline 5, Photography

Luuk De Haan

Timeline 5, 2017
29.7 x 118.2 cm
Photography

$2,808

Tiantian Xu, L'encre dansant : février, Photography

Tiantian Xu

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

$2,720

Valérie Gho, Cyanotype numéro 6, Photography

Valérie Gho

Cyanotype numéro 6, 2018
20 x 20 cm
Photography

$297

Pierre Lan, Beauté de la résilience #2, Photography

Pierre Lan

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

$1,051

James Godman, 070425, Photography

James Godman

070425, 2007
91.5 x 91.5 cm
Photography

$1,584

Olivier Liégent, Canonus de caelo, Photography

Olivier Liégent

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

$1,855

Peter Marhavy, Plants can bleed too, Photography

Peter Marhavy

Plants can bleed too, 2017
40 x 60 cm
Photography

$272

Damien De Bellis, Belly's Pollens, Photography

Damien De Bellis

Belly's Pollens, 2018
70 x 70 cm
Photography

$510

Marie-Laure Possovre, Prairie, Photography

Marie-Laure Possovre

Prairie, 2019
30 x 60 cm
Photography

$227

Aleksandros Kanellopoulos, Alien, Photography

Aleksandros Kanellopoulos

Alien, 2017
70 x 50 cm
Photography

$374

Robertas Ursache, The Surface, Photography

Robertas Ursache

The Surface, 2019
40 x 40 cm
Photography

$227

Robert Charles Mann, Solargraph 20180621-13, Photography

Robert Charles Mann

Solargraph 20180621-13, 2018
60 x 84 cm
Photography

$4,946

Gérard Allaguillemette, Immobilités #04, Photography

Gérard Allaguillemette

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

$309

Kohey Kanno, Invisible Memories #2, Photography

Kohey Kanno

Invisible Memories #2, 2018
59.4 x 42 x 4 cm
Photography

$2,349

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
Photography

$1,113

Tony Soulié, Sans titre, Photography

Tony Soulié

Sans titre, 2020
40 x 50 cm
Photography

$3,339

Arthur Hent, Self-Portrait 20.62, Photography

Arthur Hent

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

$742

Our recommendations Cat Soubbotnik, Longueur d'ondes, Photography

Cat Soubbotnik

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

$8,409

Jenny Owens, Fossils - post house 002, Photography

Jenny Owens

Fossils - post house 002, 2019
13.5 x 20 x 0.3 cm
Photography

$433

Victoire d'Harcourt, New Abstract, Photography

Victoire d'Harcourt

New Abstract, 2020
110 x 160 x 2 cm
Photography

$5,070

Marie-Fa Lazzari, Galaxie, Photography

Marie-Fa Lazzari

Galaxie, 2015
27 x 38 cm
Photography

$396

Our recommendations Barnaby Irish, Deep Field 1, Photography

Barnaby Irish

Deep Field 1, 2019
38 x 28.5 cm
Photography

$804

Michael Kenna, Torii Hokaido, Photography

Michael Kenna

Torii Hokaido, 1989
25 x 20 x 3 cm
Photography

$6,801

Our recommendations Petros Chrisostomou, Myriad (10-61 Jackson Avenue), Photography

Petros Chrisostomou

Myriad (10-61 Jackson Avenue), 2013
100 x 80 x 3 cm
Photography

$5,565

Jean-Paul Baret, N°1150, Photography

Jean-Paul Baret

N°1150, 2017
60 x 60 cm
Photography

$513

Shinji Nagabe, Objets saisis n07, Photography

Shinji Nagabe

Objets saisis n07, 2018
34 x 34 x 1 cm
Photography

$526

Jean-Claude Byandb, Apparition() Disparition, Photography

Jean-Claude Byandb

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

$754

Sylvia Rime, Ying Yang, Photography

Sylvia Rime

Ying Yang, 2018
80 x 80 cm
Photography

$742

Hein Gravenhorst, Wellenelement multiple Rotation, Photography

Hein Gravenhorst

Wellenelement multiple Rotation, 1966
50 x 50 cm
Photography

$18,548

Yannick Fournié, Blue Mood 4, Photography

Yannick Fournié

Blue Mood 4, 2021
106 x 140 x 2 cm
Photography

$3,091

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

Lilia El Golli

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

$1,067

Ana Popescu, XI Serie I have been there, Photography

Ana Popescu

XI Serie I have been there, 2021
20 x 15 x 4 cm
Photography

$495

Julie Pontaut, (É)Corse 1, Photography

Julie Pontaut

(É)Corse 1, 2013
60 x 40 cm
Photography

$223

Josef Nadj, Untitled #10, Photography

Josef Nadj

Untitled #10, 2012
25 x 30 cm
Photography

$1,360

Michael Alan, Essential Workers, Photography

Michael Alan

Essential Workers, 2020
27.9 x 35.6 x 0.1 cm
Photography

$2,800

Gisela Gaffoglio, Mediodía, Photography

Gisela Gaffoglio

Mediodía, 2018
75 x 48 x 1 cm
Photography

$1,113

60 Artworks on 2059

Scroll on the top of the page

Not feeling very inspired? Get your personalised selection today