Abstractio Ad Absurdum

Some photogs will go to silly extremes to differentiate themselves and their work in this crowded world of snappers where everyone has a camera and every possible picture of everything has been taken, many times.

Take the above perfectly ordinary snap of a bit of English Gothic architecture which has been taken many times by many people and will no doubt be taken many times more. This is the photograph of what was in front of the camera.


The following composition as the person concerned likes to call them comes as the result of applying a set of steps of their method of abstraction to the above photo to produce a "pure and minimalist" image:

Hmmm? "It has the feel of an artists brushstrokes laying down the minimalist essential form of the subject, its' essence". Well supposedly.


Some observations:

  • Is it a photograph?      No, not any longer
  • Is it art?                          Possibly
  • Is it an abstraction?   Yes, the original image is no longer recognisable
  • Is it absurd?                 Yes, you have lost the power and grandeur of the original subject.

Out of interest, I then tried applying the inverse of the specified process to the original photo and got this:

A surrealist effect I guess you might call it?


Some observations:

  • Is it a photograph?      No, not any longer, it's more fantasy or graphic novel?
  • Is it art?                          Possibly
  • Is it an abstraction?   No, the original image is still to a degree recognisable
  • Is it absurd?                 I'm not sure, it's just a little weird maybe but interesting?

So where does this leave us? Well stuck in the hoary old debate of "Is photography art?" which has been done to death and never really reaches any truly definitive conclusion.


However on the question of abstraction, at least when taken to extremes, is this photography? Then the answer is a very big no, though to be fair it may give rise to images that can considered to be art in their own right, maybe? You judge.

✧ Jokul Frosti ✧

A space containing the thoughts, experiences, photos and collected curiosities of a walkabout photographer with a snapshot style.