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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

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price,500 facet,10503*Oeuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Werke von Bestseller-Künstlern|icon-bestsellers*werke-von-kunstlern-bestseller facet,10503*Artworks by best-selling artists|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Obras de los artistas más vendidos|icon-bestsellers*obras-de-los-artistas-mas-vendidos price,1001:5000 price,501:1000 facet,10500*Oeuvres d'artistes émergents|icon-youngtalents*jeunes-talents facet,10500*Werke aufstrebender Künstler|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern facet,10500*Young Talents|icon-youngtalents*youngtalents facet,10500*Obras de artistas emergentes|icon-youngtalents*obras-de-artistas-emergentes category,6*Peinture*peinture category,6*Painting*painting category,6*Gemälde*gemalde category,6*Pintura*pintura facet,8259*Nos recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,8259*unsere Empfehlungen|icon-recommendations*unsere-empfehlungen facet,8259*Our recommendations|icon-recommendations*recommendations facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,1629*Abstract*abstract facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*moyen facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*grand facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Landscape*nature facet,1671*Paysage*nature facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Porträt*portrat facet,1644*Retrato*retrato category,5*Sculpture*sculpture category,5*Skulptur*skulptur category,5*Escultura*escultura category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Fotografie*fotografie category,9*Photography*photography category,9*Fotografía*fotografia facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos price,1000:501 facet,1830*Paysage|landscape*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Landscape|landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Landschaft|landscape*orientation-landschaft facet,1830*Paisaje|landscape*orientation-paisaje facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*medium facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*tres-grand facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*tres-grand category,15*Edition*edition category,15*Print*print category,15*Druck*editionen category,15*Edición*edicion category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Zeichnung*zeichnung category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing category,23*Dibujo*dibujo facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato facet,8301*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Etchleben*etchleben facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit facet,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,1680*Tier*tier facet,1680*Animales*animales facet,1668*Noir et blanc*noir-et-blanc facet,1668*Black and white*black-and-white facet,1668*Schwarz und weiß*schwarz-und-weiss facet,1668*Blanco y negro*blanco-y-negro facet,1632*Architecture*architecture facet,1632*Die Architektur*die-architektur facet,1632*Arquitectura*arquitectura facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*very-large price,50001 price,5001:10000 facet,1659*Flora*flora facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flores*flores facet,1650*Paysage urbain*paysage-urbain facet,1650*Urban Landscape*urban-landscape facet,1650*Städtische Landschaft*stadtische-landschaft facet,1650*Paisaje urbano*paisaje-urbano facet,1692*Géométrique*geometrique facet,1692*Geometric*geometric facet,1692*Geometrisch*geometrisch facet,1692*Geometría*geometria facet,1656*Grafik*grafik facet,1656*Graphique*graphique facet,1656*Graphic*graphic facet,1656*Gráfico*grafico facet,11634*Pop culture Street-artistes*pop-culture-street-artistes facet,11634*Pop Culture Street Artists*pop-culture-street-artists facet,11634*Popkultur Straßenkünstler*popkultur-strassenkunstler facet,11634*Cultura pop Street-artistas*cultura-pop-street-artistas facet,12*noir|050002*noir facet,12*Black|050002*black facet,12*schwarz|050002*schwarz facet,12*negro|050002*negro facet,1833*Carré|square*orientation-carre facet,1833*Square|square*orientation-square facet,1833*Quadrat|square*orientation-platz facet,1833*Cuadrado|square*orientation-cuadrado price,5000:1001 facet,30*Dark blue|0707BD*dark-blue facet,30*bleu foncé|0707BD*bleu-fonce facet,30*Dunkelblau|0707BD*dunkelblau facet,30*azul oscuro|0707BD*azul-oscuro
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Paul Snell, Bleed # 202198, Photography

Paul Snell

Bleed # 202198, 2021
180 x 115 cm
Photography

€6,439

Lucas Gallego, A luminous body I, Photography

Lucas Gallego

A luminous body I, 2020
35 x 70 x 0.1 cm
Photography

€811

Jean-Pierre Fleury, Exoplanètes 1, Photography

Jean-Pierre Fleury

Exoplanètes 1, 2021
80 x 80 cm
Photography

€1,560

Renata Andrade, Des racines I, Photography

Renata Andrade

Des racines I, 2018
60 x 40 x 2 cm
Photography

€700

Yasuo Kiyonaga, Two Landscapes 45, Photography

Yasuo Kiyonaga

Two Landscapes 45, 2020
48.3 x 32.9 x 0.1 cm
Photography

€800

Anna Levesh, Palacio #4 - Palacio Series, Photography

Anna Levesh

Palacio #4 - Palacio Series, 2020
80 x 60 cm
Photography

€1,190

Our recommendations Richard Gaylon, Straight to the Heart, Photography

Richard Gaylon

Straight to the Heart, 2018
114.3 x 76.2 x 0.254 cm
Photography

€2,160

Cristina Matos-Albers, Chroma Morphose, Nº 7077, Photography

Cristina Matos-Albers

Chroma Morphose, Nº 7077, 2021
100 x 66 x 3 cm
Photography

€1,983

Françoise Lapierre, Le Soulier, Photography

Françoise Lapierre

Le Soulier, 2021
30 x 45 cm
Photography

€600

Irène Jonas, Cieux, de la série - Un été sans fin, Photography

Irène Jonas

Cieux, de la série - Un été sans fin, 2021
30 x 45 x 1 cm
Photography

€1,200

Baptiste Tavernier, Windows, Photography

Baptiste Tavernier

Windows, 2022
84 x 67 x 3 cm
Photography

€2,500

Floriane Lisowski, Papillon Soeur, Photography

Floriane Lisowski

Papillon Soeur, 2021
130 x 80 x 3 cm
Photography

€2,900

Dorit Thies, Tik Tok, Photography

Dorit Thies

Tik Tok, 2020
28.5 x 15 x 0.3 cm
Photography

€100

Our recommendations Dasha Pears, Head in the Clouds, Photography

Dasha Pears

Head in the Clouds, 2020
100 x 100 x 0.1 cm
Photography

€1,670

Our recommendations Sjaak Korsten, Hide 3, Photography

Sjaak Korsten

Hide 3, 2017
85 x 70 x 1 cm
Photography

€1,600

Our recommendations Konstantin Kornakov, Codes esthétiques 0373, Photography

Konstantin Kornakov

Codes esthétiques 0373, 2015
60 x 45 cm
Photography

€700

Our recommendations Yann Merran, Murano, Photography

Yann Merran

Murano, 2010
90 x 60 x 2 cm
Photography

€700

Alain Kramer, IDR 1505_30 - série Photo abstraite, Photography

Alain Kramer

IDR 1505_30 - série Photo abstraite, 2015
61 x 46 x 2 cm
Photography

€730

Our recommendations Léa Dedieu, Coquelicot, Photography

Léa Dedieu

Coquelicot, 2020
60 x 45 x 3 cm
Photography

€950

Our recommendations Luca Izzo, Oceani Mentali N°6, Photography

Luca Izzo

Oceani Mentali N°6, 2018
80 x 60 x 1 cm
Photography

€1,500

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

€451

Sebastián Palomo Danko, Lucky Shadows, Photography

Sebastián Palomo Danko

Lucky Shadows, 1999
61 x 91.4 cm
Photography

€1,622

Richard Caldicott, Untitled 109, Photography

Richard Caldicott

Untitled 109, 1999
36 x 28 cm
Photography

€1,215

Arthur Hent, Self-Portrait 20.62, Photography

Arthur Hent

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

€600

Our recommendations Pierre Lan, Beauté de la résilience  #6, Photography

Pierre Lan

Beauté de la résilience #6, 2020
35 x 50 cm
Photography

€500

Nagsoul, Gina (Butts and crotches), Photography

Nagsoul

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

€390

Luuk De Haan, Mogelijkheid 055_06_121, Photography

Luuk De Haan

Mogelijkheid 055_06_121, 2013
59.4 x 42 cm
Photography

€1,640

Imagilaire, Dcsq by BTNHMCRWL (Amsterdam), Photography

Imagilaire

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

€800

Our recommendations Seb Janiak, Gravity - Liquid 05, Photography

Seb Janiak

Gravity - Liquid 05, 2014
110 x 86 cm
Photography

€5,346

Eli Joteva, CryoLumen Storm Print: Snow Water in a Snow Storm, 1-hour exposure (Rila National Park), January 17, 2021, Photography

Eli Joteva

CryoLumen Storm Print: Snow Water in a Snow Storm, 1-hour exposure (Rila National Park), January 17, 2021, 2021
100 x 80 x 4 cm
Photography

€840

Venelina Katanska, Divine, Photography

Venelina Katanska

Divine, 2015
90 x 135 cm
Photography

€450

Philip Provily, Bleue, Photography

Philip Provily

Bleue, 2006
57 x 45 x 0.1 cm
Photography

€1,200

James Godman, 070425, Photography

James Godman

070425, 2007
91.5 x 91.5 cm
Photography

€1,336

Our recommendations Tiantian Xu, L'encre dansant : avril, Photography

Tiantian Xu

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

€2,200

Jason Engelund, Be Becoming, Photography

Jason Engelund

Be Becoming, 2021
76.2 x 61 x 0.1 cm
Photography

€1,944

Our recommendations Marie-Fa Lazzari, Rubis, Photography

Marie-Fa Lazzari

Rubis, 2014
48 x 33 cm
Photography

€375

Our recommendations Thomas Ruff, Substrat 31 III, Photography

Thomas Ruff

Substrat 31 III, 2021
34 x 51 cm
Photography

€2,800

Jean-Claude Byandb, Macro META Graphic Mirrors, Photography

Jean-Claude Byandb

Macro META Graphic Mirrors, 2015
60 x 45 x 0.1 cm
Photography

€610

Pol Durruff, Sans titre, Photography

Pol Durruff

Sans titre, 2018
62 x 54 x 4 cm
Photography

€1,080

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal, Sans titre, Photography

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal

Sans titre, 2018
94 x 74 x 0.2 cm
Photography

€1,700

Michel Verna, Tango au couchant - série paysage abstrait, Photography

Michel Verna

Tango au couchant - série paysage abstrait, 2020
60 x 90 x 0.5 cm
Photography

€750

Philippe Blin, Sans titre - série paysage marin, Photography

Philippe Blin

Sans titre - série paysage marin, 2020
50 x 90 x 0.5 cm
Photography

€1,120

Gisela Gaffoglio, Mediodía, Photography

Gisela Gaffoglio

Mediodía, 2018
75 x 48 x 1 cm
Photography

€900

Our recommendations Emanuele Ravagnani, Insta #3, Photography

Emanuele Ravagnani

Insta #3, 2020
13 x 9.5 cm
Photography

€320

Our recommendations Bertrand Gruyer, Window - 07, Photography

Bertrand Gruyer

Window - 07, 2020
60 x 48 cm
Photography

€750

Tenesh Webber, Fall, Photography

Tenesh Webber

Fall, 2014
28 x 28 cm
Photography

€2,430

Strahil Penev, Total Screen II, Photography

Strahil Penev

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

€490

Jean-Baptiste Isambert, Vue automnale, Photography

Jean-Baptiste Isambert

Vue automnale, 2018
90 x 60 x 1 cm
Photography

€1,900

Our recommendations Jean-Paul Baret, N°1292, Photography

Jean-Paul Baret

N°1292, 2017
60 x 60 cm
Photography

€415

Sophie Derrick, Close to nothing (Yellow), Photography

Sophie Derrick

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

€1,458

Our recommendations Cat Soubbotnik, Longueur d'ondes, Photography

Cat Soubbotnik

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

€6,800

Petr Strnad, Circle Grammar #2, Photography

Petr Strnad

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

€270

Our recommendations Madeleine Gross, Rainbow Boat Scene, Photography

Madeleine Gross

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

€1,803

Our recommendations Fabienne Veverka, New Light 6042, Photography

Fabienne Veverka

New Light 6042, 2018
29 x 29 cm
Photography

€550

Luca Artioli, Roman Statue Study 3, Abstract Figurtive Color Photography, Photography

Luca Artioli

Roman Statue Study 3, Abstract Figurtive Color Photography, 2016
114.3 x 177.8 x 0.3 cm
Photography

€4,507

Our recommendations Barnaby Irish, Deep Field 1, Photography

Barnaby Irish

Deep Field 1, 2019
38 x 28.5 cm
Photography

€650

Our recommendations Sébastien Castillo, Untitled II, Photography

Sébastien Castillo

Untitled II, 2013
40 x 60 x 1 cm
Photography

€540

Our recommendations Corinne Cavillac, Colombes A, Photography

Corinne Cavillac

Colombes A, 2017
150 x 100 cm
Photography

€1,800

Jérémie Lenoir, #6561087, Salt lake, Photography

Jérémie Lenoir

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

€2,800

Our recommendations Lilia El Golli, Corruption(s) – The Lady, Photography

Lilia El Golli

Corruption(s) – The Lady, 2016
40 x 60 cm
Photography

€863

Olive Santaoloria, Collées, Photography

Olive Santaoloria

Collées, 2018
50 x 50 x 1 cm
Photography

€1,000

Zigmunds Orlovskis, Microbial Map of Middle Earth, Photography

Zigmunds Orlovskis

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

€100

Our recommendations Andreas Müller-Pohle, Cyclogramme, Photography

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Cyclogramme, 1991
80 x 60 cm
Photography

€8,000

Patricia Bofill, The invisible 5, Photography

Patricia Bofill

The invisible 5, 2010
75 x 50 x 1 cm
Photography

€750

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