Story often plays a role in how I make my photographs. A sentence read from a novel or an image seen on a gallery wall can inspire the seed of an idea. Rarely do I know where a project is going in these first stages, but when it feels urgent and immediate, I follow my gut reaction, jot down notes, and shoot to uncover the sensation.
This happened last summer when I started photographing surface abstractions. Paint splatters on pavement and wood, lichen clinging to rocks, vines unfurling on a brick wall. These banal details stopped me in my tracks. I began photographing them with my mobile camera and found I couldn’t stop. Drawn to their obscure nature, the images still revealed a sense of place. Hinting at familiarity in their abstraction. I thought about aspects of both Helen Frankenthaller’s and Robert Motherwell’s abstract paintings as I shot these images.
I talked about using detail in my last post as a way to build your photographic style. These surface abstractions reference the details and composition to which they subscribe. Capturing detail approximates spatial and emotional closeness to the subject which draws the viewer in who hopefully desires to learn more about the photograph and why it was made. Over time, I’ve learned to trust my instincts and vision no matter what.
Do you look for certain elements when you make a photograph? I would love to hear about your process…