Winter in the abstract

In Digital, Inspiration

‘Abstract’ is a fascinating word. Wiktionary tells me that the word originates from the Latin verb abstrahō, meaning ‘to draw away’. To draw something away is precisely what I do when I create images with abstract traits – I draw a visual element such as line or shape out of and away from the concrete subject, and focus on this element as the new subject of the image independent – to a greater or lesser extent – of what the image is actually of. Above I tried to abstract the lights of the Christmas tree by reversing focus; a sharply focused bookshelf is visible in the background.

I am less interested in completely abstract images than I am in highlighting certain abstract elements. Though you can tell below that the lines are made out of rope, that does not detract from the story the image is telling, a story of tangled skeins or diverging roads depending on how you look at it.

And while the below image clearly shows ice on a rosebush, by using a narrow depth of field and converting to black and white the lines become ice-cold teeth, or maybe the rosebush has grown thorns of ice?

Sometimes nature creates abstracts all by itself; I love the contrast here between the normal-seeming door and the tangles of ice:

And finally below a contrast between the vitality of the birds and the stark and naked lines of the roof and wires.

I am not fond of winter. I find it cold and dark and dreary, but a bit less so when I discover a way to harness the cold and the dark in my photography. Abstractions in black and white has been one way to do this.

How do you cope with winter in terms of creative inspiration? Does winter hinder you, or perhaps it energises you? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

˜Jenny Graver.


  1. We have to have these ways to play and trick ourselves to make it through the dark, cold season. It really helps!

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