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Abstract Photography

Abstract photography, also sometimes known as experimental photography, is the art of creating a visual effect with an image that has no immediate attachment to reality, by using processes like focusing, framing, or retouching and editing the photograph in post-processing. For example, an abstract picture can sometimes isolate a fragment of an ordinary image to remove it from its original context and give it a surrealist edge. It can also involve playing with blurring, shadows or lighting, textures or unexpected forms. The image is often created with traditional photographic material (analog or digital cameras, dark room, computer). However, artists can also manipulate and alter the film in order to achieve the desired effect.

The first images known as “abstract photographs" appeared shortly after the invention of photography in the 1830s. In 1842, John William Draper created a new type of images with a spectroscope. This machine dispersed light beams and produced a phenomenon that was previously invisible to the eye. The negatives he produced had nothing in common with the works of other photographers, and they opened the way for innovative photographic works. Draper perceived these images as a scientific discovery, not as artworks, but today his method is widely acclaimed by critics for its inherent originality.

In England, Anna Atkins was also a pioneer of abstract photography; she was the first one to place dry algae on cyanotype paper. This scientific experiment improved photographic techniques by creating unique blue and white images. Moreover, the discovery of X-ray and radioactivity in 1896 provoked a fascination for the invisible and many photographers were immediately drawn to these phenomena. French photographer Louis Darget attempted to capture mental processes by pressing unexposed plates to the foreheads of his and trying to get them to project images from their minds onto the plates. He carried out thousands of similar experiments.

It was only during the 20th century that abstract photography truly became recognised as an artistic practice. Surrealism and cubism started replacing impressionism, especially after the Salon d'Automne in 1903 in Paris. This event highlighted new talents like Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp… Ten years later, in New York, Wassily Kandinsky, Mondrian, Braque and Delaunay shocked audiences. The freedom coming from abstract art inspired some of the greatest photographers to break the rules.

Erwin Quedenfeldt exhibited the first abstract photographs in Cologne in 1914. From 1920 to 1930, Europe became the epicenters of conceptual photography with artists such as Jaroslav Rossler, Josef Sudeck, and Rössler exploring abstraction.

Post-processing became more central to photographic works in the 60s and the 70s, with artists like Josef Newman. Eventually, the growing popularity of computers in the 90s and the 2000s opened up infinite possibilities for creating original work. Some contemporary photographers like Peter Klasen, Dominic Harris, or Nicolas Dubreuille combine photography with other mediums.

Find them all on Artsper with our unique selection of abstract photographs.



Collector’s Guide: Collecting Fine Art Photographs

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price,500 facet,10503*Oeuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Artworks by best-selling artists|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Werke von Bestseller-Künstlern|icon-bestsellers*werke-von-kunstlern-bestseller facet,10503*Obras de los artistas más vendidos|icon-bestsellers*obras-de-los-artistas-mas-vendidos price,501:1000 price,1001:5000 facet,10500*Oeuvres d'artistes émergents|icon-youngtalents*jeunes-talents facet,10500*Young Talents|icon-youngtalents*youngtalents facet,10500*Obras de artistas emergentes|icon-youngtalents*obras-de-artistas-emergentes facet,10500*Werke aufstrebender Künstler|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern category,6*Peinture*peinture category,6*Painting*painting category,6*Pintura*pintura category,6*Gemälde*gemalde facet,8259*Nos recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,8259*Our recommendations|icon-recommendations*recommendations facet,8259*unsere Empfehlungen|icon-recommendations*unsere-empfehlungen facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,1629*Abstract*abstract facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*grand facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero facet,1671*Landscape*nature facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Paysage*nature facet,1671*Nature*nature facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza category,5*Sculpture*sculpture category,5*Skulptur*skulptur category,5*Escultura*escultura category,9*Fotografie*fotografie category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Photography*photography category,9*Fotografía*fotografia facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,1644*Porträt*portrat facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Retrato*retrato facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos price,1000:501 facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*medium category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Zeichnung*zeichnung category,23*Dibujo*dibujo category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*tres-grand facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*tres-grand category,15*Edition*edition category,15*Druck*editionen category,15*Print*print category,15*Edición*edicion facet,1830*Paysage|landscape*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Landscape|landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Landschaft|landscape*orientation-landschaft facet,1830*Paisaje|landscape*orientation-paisaje facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion facet,8301*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato facet,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,1680*Animales*animales facet,1680*Tier*tier facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,1674*Etchleben*etchleben facet,1668*Black and white*black-and-white facet,1668*Schwarz und weiß*schwarz-und-weiss facet,1668*Noir et blanc*noir-et-blanc facet,1668*Blanco y negro*blanco-y-negro facet,1632*Architecture*architecture facet,1632*Die Architektur*die-architektur facet,1632*Arquitectura*arquitectura price,50001 facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Flora*flora facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flores*flores facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*very-large price,5001:10000 facet,1650*Paysage urbain*paysage-urbain facet,1650*Urban Landscape*urban-landscape facet,1650*Paisaje urbano*paisaje-urbano facet,1650*Städtische Landschaft*stadtische-landschaft price,5000:1001 facet,12*noir|050002*noir facet,12*schwarz|050002*schwarz facet,12*Black|050002*black facet,12*negro|050002*negro facet,1692*Géométrique*geometrique facet,1692*Geometric*geometric facet,1692*Geometrisch*geometrisch facet,1692*Geometría*geometria price,10001:25000 facet,1656*Grafik*grafik facet,1656*Graphique*graphique facet,1656*Graphic*graphic facet,1656*Gráfico*grafico price,25001:50000 facet,30*Dark blue|0707BD*dark-blue facet,30*bleu foncé|0707BD*bleu-fonce facet,30*Dunkelblau|0707BD*dunkelblau facet,108*oil*oil facet,108*huile*huile facet,108*Öl*ol facet,108*al oleo*al-oleo
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Anna Levesh, Flame Numbers - Dancing Flame Series, Photography

Anna Levesh

Flame Numbers - Dancing Flame Series, 2020
30.5 x 22.8 inch
Photography

$1,558

Yasuo Kiyonaga, Two Landscapes 31, Photography

Yasuo Kiyonaga

Two Landscapes 31, 2020
19 x 13 x 0 inch
Photography

$923

Roxane Borujerdi, Sans titre, Photography

Roxane Borujerdi

Sans titre, 2010
18.1 x 27.6 inch
Photography

$2,885

Georges Saulterre, Argos, Photography

Georges Saulterre

Argos, 2021
11.8 x 17.7 x 0 inch
Photography

$692

Fabian Albertini, Vertical Line/Black, Photography

Fabian Albertini

Vertical Line/Black, 2020
13 x 19.7 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$2,769

Elena Krasteva, La Terre est bleue comme une orange, Photography

Elena Krasteva

La Terre est bleue comme une orange, 2021
18.9 x 23.6 x 0 inch
Photography

$369

Our recommendations Emanuele Ravagnani, Insta #3, Photography

Emanuele Ravagnani

Insta #3, 2020
5.1 x 3.7 inch
Photography

$369

Our recommendations Thomas Ruff, Substrat 31 III, Photography

Thomas Ruff

Substrat 31 III, 2021
13.4 x 20.1 inch
Photography

$3,231

Our recommendations Sjaak Korsten, Hide 3, Photography

Sjaak Korsten

Hide 3, 2017
33.5 x 27.6 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$1,846

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal, Sans titre, Photography

Patrick Chappert-Gaujal

Sans titre, 2018
37 x 29.1 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$1,962

Our recommendations Konstantin Kornakov, Codes esthétiques 0373, Photography

Konstantin Kornakov

Codes esthétiques 0373, 2015
23.6 x 17.7 inch
Photography

$808

Our recommendations Paul Snell, Trace # 201904, Photography

Paul Snell

Trace # 201904, 2019
47.2 x 19.3 inch
Photography

$4,540

Our recommendations Yann Merran, Murano, Photography

Yann Merran

Murano, 2010
35.4 x 23.6 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$808

Angeles Peña, Hielos de San Rafael (Patagonia), Photography

Angeles Peña

Hielos de San Rafael (Patagonia), 2015
39 x 27.5 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$500

Alain Kramer, IDR 1505_30 - série Photo abstraite, Photography

Alain Kramer

IDR 1505_30 - série Photo abstraite, 2015
24 x 18.1 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$842

Our recommendations Luca Izzo, Oceani Mentali N°6, Photography

Luca Izzo

Oceani Mentali N°6, 2018
31.5 x 23.6 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$1,731

Shine Huang, Rebirth II, Photography

Shine Huang

Rebirth II, 2018
20 x 16 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$1,800

Our recommendations Tiantian Xu, L'encre dansant : avril, Photography

Tiantian Xu

L'encre dansant : avril, 2014
39.4 x 39.4 inch
Photography

$2,539

Our recommendations Léa Dedieu, Coquelicot, Photography

Léa Dedieu

Coquelicot, 2020
23.6 x 17.7 x 1.2 inch
Photography

$1,096

Our recommendations Seb Janiak, Gravity - Liquid 05, Photography

Seb Janiak

Gravity - Liquid 05, 2014
43.3 x 33.9 inch
Photography

$6,053

Richard Caldicott, Untitled 109, Photography

Richard Caldicott

Untitled 109, 1999
14.2 x 11 inch
Photography

$1,376

Our recommendations Pierre Lan, Beauté de la résilience  #6, Photography

Pierre Lan

Beauté de la résilience #6, 2020
13.8 x 19.7 inch
Photography

$577

Arthur Hent, Self-Portrait 20.62, Photography

Arthur Hent

Self-Portrait 20.62, 2020
15.7 x 11.8 x 1 inch
Photography

$692

Nagsoul, Gina (Butts and crotches), Photography

Nagsoul

Gina (Butts and crotches), 2020
23.6 x 15.7 inch
Photography

$450

Venelina Katanska, Divine, Photography

Venelina Katanska

Divine, 2015
35.4 x 53.1 inch
Photography

$519

Imagilaire, Dcsq by BTNHMCRWL (Amsterdam), Photography

Imagilaire

Dcsq by BTNHMCRWL (Amsterdam), 2019
23.6 x 23.6 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$923

Philip Provily, Bleue, Photography

Philip Provily

Bleue, 2006
22.4 x 17.7 x 0 inch
Photography

$1,385

Our recommendations Jean-Paul Baret, N°2064, Photography

Jean-Paul Baret

N°2064, 2018
39.4 x 25.6 inch
Photography

$860

Eli Joteva, CryoLumen Storm Print: Snow Water in a Snow Storm, 1-hour exposure (Rila National Park), January 17, 2021, Photography

Eli Joteva

CryoLumen Storm Print: Snow Water in a Snow Storm, 1-hour exposure (Rila National Park), January 17, 2021, 2021
39.4 x 31.5 x 1.6 inch
Photography

$969

Elise Vincent, Lucy - série univers oniriques intérieurs, Photography

Elise Vincent

Lucy - série univers oniriques intérieurs, 2020
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$1,385

James Godman, 070425, Photography

James Godman

070425, 2007
36 x 36 inch
Photography

$1,513

Pol Durruff, Sans titre, Photography

Pol Durruff

Sans titre, 2018
24.4 x 21.3 x 1.6 inch
Photography

$1,246

Luuk De Haan, Diaphanous dance 14, Photography

Luuk De Haan

Diaphanous dance 14, 2013
11.7 x 8.3 inch
Photography

$619

Jason Engelund, Colors, Photography

Jason Engelund

Colors, 2021
14 x 11 x 0 inch
Photography

$825

Michel Verna, Tango au couchant - série paysage abstrait, Photography

Michel Verna

Tango au couchant - série paysage abstrait, 2020
23.6 x 35.4 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$865

Jean-Claude Byandb, Macro META Graphic Mirrors, Photography

Jean-Claude Byandb

Macro META Graphic Mirrors, 2015
23.6 x 17.7 x 0 inch
Photography

$704

Our recommendations Cat Soubbotnik, Longueur d'ondes, Photography

Cat Soubbotnik

Longueur d'ondes, 2012
66.1 x 63 x 1.2 inch
Photography

$7,847

Our recommendations Madeleine Gross, Rainbow Boat Scene, Photography

Madeleine Gross

Rainbow Boat Scene, 2020
18 x 12 x 1 inch
Photography

$2,000

Gisela Gaffoglio, Mediodía, Photography

Gisela Gaffoglio

Mediodía, 2018
29.5 x 18.9 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$1,039

Our recommendations Marie-Fa Lazzari, Rubis, Photography

Marie-Fa Lazzari

Rubis, 2014
14.6 x 10.6 inch
Photography

$433

Tenesh Webber, Loops 1, Photography

Tenesh Webber

Loops 1, 2015
11 x 11 inch
Photography

$2,752

Jérémie Lenoir, #6561087, Salt lake, Photography

Jérémie Lenoir

#6561087, Salt lake, 2017
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$3,231

Our recommendations Cristina Matos-Albers, Chroma Morphose, Nº 9696, Photography

Cristina Matos-Albers

Chroma Morphose, Nº 9696, 2021
39.4 x 26 x 1.2 inch
Photography

$2,200

Strahil Penev, Total Screen II, Photography

Strahil Penev

Total Screen II, 2021
30.7 x 22.4 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$565

Our recommendations Bertrand Gruyer, Window - 07, Photography

Bertrand Gruyer

Window - 07, 2020
23.6 x 18.9 inch
Photography

$865

Dominique Moreau, Abys, Photography

Dominique Moreau

Abys, 2016
26 x 39.4 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$1,362

Zigmunds Orlovskis, Microbial Map of Middle Earth, Photography

Zigmunds Orlovskis

Microbial Map of Middle Earth, 2019
15.7 x 15.7 inch
Photography

$115

Philippe Piccardi, Le chaos est une structure, Photography

Philippe Piccardi

Le chaos est une structure, 2017
23.6 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$202

Our recommendations Andreas Müller-Pohle, Cyclogramme, Photography

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Cyclogramme, 1991
31.5 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$9,231

Claude Billès, Banyuls, Photography

Claude Billès

Banyuls, 2020
23.6 x 43.3 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$2,192

Stéphane Martin, Hydrocarbure, Photography

Stéphane Martin

Hydrocarbure, 2018
15.7 x 11.8 x 0 inch
Photography

$173

Sophie Derrick, Close to nothing (Yellow), Photography

Sophie Derrick

Close to nothing (Yellow), 2015
16.5 x 11.8 x 3.1 inch
Photography

$1,651

Olivier Liégent, Canonus de caelo, Photography

Olivier Liégent

Canonus de caelo, 2014
20.1 x 35.4 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$1,731

Our recommendations Fabienne Veverka, New Light 6042, Photography

Fabienne Veverka

New Light 6042, 2018
11.4 x 11.4 inch
Photography

$635

Our recommendations Corinne Cavillac, Colombes A, Photography

Corinne Cavillac

Colombes A, 2017
59.1 x 39.4 inch
Photography

$2,077

Our recommendations Barnaby Irish, Deep Field 1, Photography

Barnaby Irish

Deep Field 1, 2019
15 x 11.2 inch
Photography

$750

Sandra Salamonová, Just Blue, Photography

Sandra Salamonová

Just Blue, 2019
19.7 x 19.7 inch
Photography

$923 $646

Petr Strnad, Circle Grammar #2, Photography

Petr Strnad

Circle Grammar #2, 2021
18 x 17.8 x 0 inch
Photography

$312

Michael Kenna, Torii Hokaido, Photography

Michael Kenna

Torii Hokaido, 1989
9.8 x 7.9 x 1.2 inch
Photography

$6,347

Our recommendations Sébastien Castillo, Untitled II, Photography

Sébastien Castillo

Untitled II, 2013
15.7 x 23.6 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$623

Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarreye, Yam seeds in my grandmother’s country, Photography

Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarreye

Yam seeds in my grandmother’s country, 2020
70.9 x 47.2 x 1.2 inch
Photography

$36,926

Robert Charles Mann, Solargraph 20180621-13, Photography

Robert Charles Mann

Solargraph 20180621-13, 2018
23.6 x 33.1 inch
Photography

$4,616

Our recommendations Lilia El Golli, Corruption(s) – The Lady, Photography

Lilia El Golli

Corruption(s) – The Lady, 2016
15.7 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$996

Damien De Bellis, Belly's Pollens, Photography

Damien De Bellis

Belly's Pollens, 2018
27.6 x 27.6 inch
Photography

$265

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