We usually take pictures of people, places and things. But sometimes there's value beyond the subject itself, found in the aesthetics of the photo alone. For this week's Shooting Challenge, I want you to shoot an abstract photo.

The Challenge

Take a photo using the visual language of abstraction. What does that mean? More below:

The Method

The key to this challenge is less technique than understanding what qualifies a piece of art as "abstract." At its most simple, abstraction is when a composition can exist without specific reference to the visual world we know.


In other words, when you see a postcard photo of the Eiffel Tower, you know exactly what it is. But were you to zoom in and allow light to pass through the structure, masking its identity as not only a famous landmark, but maybe a tower altogether, you've reached the heart of abstraction.

Or take a look at our lead shot by Ted VanCleave. That's the Pavilion for Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. But I have a feeling that wasn't the first thing that popped in your mind. (LA art majors, you don't count.)

That's not to say art is necessarily stamped ABSTRACT or NOT ABSTRACT, but for this week's challenge, I want you to really go for abstraction at its purist...at its most abstract.


If you still don't get what I mean, wikipedia's page is very, very deep on the subject. Maybe too deep even!

The Rules - READ THESE

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos need to be taken the week of the contest.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to contests@gizmodo.com, not me.
5. Include 800px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. (The 800px image is the one judged, so feel free to crop/alter the larger image for wallpaper-sized dimensions.)
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)


Send your best photo by Sunday, August 8th at 11PM Eastern to contests@gizmodo.com with "Abstract" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameAbstract.jpg (800px wide) and FirstnameLastnameAbstractWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

[Lead Image by Ted VanCleave]


If you like Shooting Challenges, you may be interested in my new site, Life, Panoramic. It's like a Shooting Challenge with only one night of homework.