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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.

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price,501:1000 facet,10503*Artworks by best-selling artists|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Oeuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Obras de los artistas más vendidos|icon-bestsellers*obras-de-los-artistas-mas-vendidos facet,10503*Werke von Bestseller-Künstlern|icon-bestsellers*werke-von-kunstlern-bestseller facet,10503*Œuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers price,1001:5000 category,6*Peinture*peinture category,6*Gemälde*gemalde category,6*Painting*painting category,6*Pintura*pintura facet,10500*Young Talents|icon-youngtalents*youngtalents facet,10500*Obras de artistas emergentes|icon-youngtalents*obras-de-artistas-emergentes facet,10500*Werke aufstrebender Künstler|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern facet,10500*Oeuvres d'artistes émergents|icon-youngtalents*jeunes-talents price,5001:10000 price,500 facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones facet,8259*unsere Empfehlungen|icon-recommendations*unsere-empfehlungen facet,8259*Our recommendations|icon-recommendations*recommendations facet,8259*Nos recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,11991*​Master Artists|icon-masterartists*masterartists facet,11991*Grands Maitres|icon-masterartists*grands-maitres facet,11991*Große Meister|icon-masterartists*grosse-meister facet,11991*Maestros artistas|icon-masterartists*maestros-artistas facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,1629*Abstract*abstract category,5*Sculpture*sculpture category,5*Skulpturen*skulptur category,5*Escultura*escultura facet,11997*Nouveaux artistes à découvrir|icon-new-remarquable-artists*nouveaux-artistes-a-decouvrir facet,11997*​New \u0026 remarkable Artists|icon-new-remarquable-artists*new-remarquable-artists facet,11997*Artistas nuevos y destacados|icon-new-remarquable-artists*artistas-nuevos-y-destacados facet,11997*Neue bemerkenswerte Künstler|icon-new-remarquable-artists*neue-bemerkenswerte-kunstler facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*moyen facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand category,9*Photography*photography category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Fotografien*fotografie category,9*Fotografía*fotografia facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Landscape*nature facet,1671*Paysage*nature facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Retrato*retrato facet,1644*Porträt*portrat facet,8301*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing category,23*Zeichnungen*zeichnung category,23*Dibujo*dibujo facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos category,15*Edition*edition category,15*Print*print category,15*Drucke*editionen category,15*Edición*edicion facet,11697*Figuratif*figuratif facet,11697*Figurativo*figurativo facet,11697*Figurative*figurative facet,11697*Figurativ*figurativ 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,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,1680*Tiere*tiere facet,1680*Animales*animales facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,1674*Alltagsszenen*alltagsszenen facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato 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 facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit price,50001 category,24*Design*design category,24*Diseño*diseno price,1000:501 facet,12220*Artistes Français*artistes-francais facet,12220*French artists*french-artists facet,12220*Artistas franceses*artistas-franceses facet,12220*Französisch Künstler*franzosisch-kunstler facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flora*flora facet,1659*Flores*flores facet,11634*Pop Culture Street Artists*pop-culture-street-artists facet,11634*Pop culture Street-artistes*pop-culture-street-artistes facet,11634*Popkultur Straßenkünstler*popkultur-strassenkunstler facet,11634*Cultura pop Street-artistas*cultura-pop-street-artistas 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 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*very-large facet,108*Öl*ol facet,108*huile*huile facet,108*oil*oil facet,108*al oleo*al-oleo facet,126*acrylique*acrylique facet,126*Acryl-*acryl facet,126*acrylic*acrylic facet,126*acrílico*acrilico price,25001:50000
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Paola Dávila, 28° 14' 22.942'' N, 114° 6' 4.129'' W-14, Photography

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Agathe Toman, _Blue #001, Photography

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Vianca Reinig, Ask politely, when you want to switch seats. (2), Photography

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Vik Muniz, Saturn devouring one of his sons, after F. de Goya, Photography

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Philippe Bréson, Ardoise #03, Photography

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David Agius, Deterritorialisation 10, Photography

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Dominique Jullien, Blue City, Photography

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Philippe Boutefeu, LeavesCourges, Photography

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Franck Guedj, Space Sample 2.5 / Eiffel, Photography

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Richard Caldicott, Untitled (7), Photography

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Amel Benmohamed, Oeil mysterieux, Photography

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31.5 x 31.5 x 0.4 inch
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Guido Segni, Untitled Desert Tile 1, Photography

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47.2 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
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Griselda Duch, Arum Lily #2, Photography

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