What is abstract photography? We could debate the nuances of the definition all day—as many do. But it's so much more fun just to look at the mind-bending pictures from this week's Shooting Challenge, isn't it?

Before we move on, you can get the wallpapers here.

Lead Shot - Pierced Blue Triangle

Nikon D3000, 55-200mm lens, 100 ISO. I'm on a student exchange in Finland and my host family's house has a lot of weird angles in it so I tried to find some that looked abstract. I'm not very good at abstract photography, I was outside for like 10 hours trying to take abstract photographs but I couldn't get any good shots.
-Dustin Chan

Night Fight

Canon EOS 7D, 1/20, F/5.0, Canon 50mm 1/8 lens, ISO: 800. Well, we have an old English sheep dog who loves to go outside and roll around in the grass. As most of us know summer is flea season so we bought a flea killer to capture all the ones he brings inside the house. At night we leave it on when going to sleep and noticed the view from the top was pretty sweet.
-Dino Lie

Circlular Sphere

Nikon D5000, AF-S 18-105 VR, 1/30 s, 105 mm, f/16, ISO 200. It is a rotating ring. Neon lights in a room made ripple effect. I got the idea when my girlfriend was playing with her ring. I shot it first at a dinner to show my friend that I can make good photography in a bad light condition without his f/1.8 lens. I re-shot it On a white desk and more light. It turned out well enough to submit.
-Janez Kos

Chromatic Scale

Canon EOS 50D, Lens EF50 mm f/1.8 II, 1/500 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100. I first thought the "Abstract" theme was quite tricky. I was looking for some abstract building part outside all the time and could not find anything suitable. Then I bought a new camera to replace my old EOS 350D and started to do some tryout shots on our balcony. And suddenly I found my abstract motive. It is a wind chime.
-Maren Ko

Microcircuitry, It Is Not

Canon EOS Rebel XSi, EF-S 18-55mm Lens, f/5.6 at 1/100 ISO 400 focal length 34mm
This is a wet floor mat that I rolled slightly to provide the curvature. I tweaked saturation, temperature and exposure a little in iPhoto.
-Chris Thompson

Garage Spider

Canon 5D, Lens: 16-35 version II, ISO 400. This shot can be seen as hole of light, or a logo of spider man, may be the connection of the line will create the an explosion of light etc... In fact, this one is a parking in France.
-Ha Duy Long

Wet Space

Taken with a Canon PowerShot S90, 1/125 second and f/4.9, ISO 100. Contrast and saturation modified in Paint.NET. A sheen of oil on Puget Sound, half shaded by a pier. And on the right, a starscape with a couple of hemi-ringed dark planets.
-Brian Hall

Couch Array

Panasonic DMC-FZ30 on my tripod, ISO80, Exposure 1/10, F2.8. Well, I was wandering in my house after reading your article on the photo contest. I wanted something that was extremely detailed and yet very simple... after searching and taking many awful pictures, I sat in front of my television and powered it on. It was so simple, the solution was directly in my face. So yes, I took many macro pictures of the pixels of my television when it was on, I posterized it to see the pixel, boosted the colors and voila!
-Philippe Raymond

Green Lantern

Canon T2i, 50mm, f/1.8 iso 100. Finished my beer and took a pic of the sun through it. No post.
-Sam Marusich

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Canon EOS XTi, 50mm, 1/60 sec @ f20 ISO 100. This abstract is all about the lines and the negative space rather than the obscurity of the focal point. You must look past the idea of it being a photo of a telephone pole and see the shapes.
-Scott Alberts

WINNER - Hudsucker Proxy

Nikon D90 with 18-200 VRII, Insight Tech Gear HX200 flashlight, Manfrotto 7301YB, 200mm f/5.6, 500ms exposure, ISO400. The subject of this shot is the exhaust pipe on my car. I inverted the vertical tube on the tripod to hang the camera down below and lined it up directly with the exhaust outlet. I cleaned the tip quickly and wet it so that it would reflect light better. I used the flashlight (ridiculously bright) to illuminate the ground between the camera and the car so that the diffuse bounce wouldn't illuminate the car much, but the wet exhaust tip would reflect around the outer ring. I played with the exposure in manual mode to capture just the ring.
[Ed note: I love that, from one of mankind's most impressive, polished inventions—the automobile—we get one of the most basic yet fundamental shapes: the circle.]
-Ryan Powers

Awesome entries all around. And while many still claim not to understand the idea of abstract art—indeed, the concept itself is a bit abstract—I think that most of our entries delved boldly into the vast genre, albeit in different ways. Also, if you're still looking for a definition to make you happy with the term, I stumbled across this essay on abstract art that I found to be pretty fantastic. Of course, it may just tie even more knots in your brain. But that's sort of the fun of it, right?

Gallery 1 (single page version)

Gallery 2 (single page version)

Gallery 3 (single page version)

If you like Shooting Challenges, you may be interested in my new site, Life, Panoramic.

Click to view