Sunday, January 15, 2017

Urban Abstracts

“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new”

Ernst Haas 

 Urban Abstract #8, New Orleans (April, 1985)

Originally, I imagined this post as another ‘Tip of the Day’ which was going to be titled ‘Shoot What Interests You’…or something dopey and uninspiring like that. Not much of a tip there. Of course, we take pictures of things we want to photograph…witness the explosion of selfies.

We take pictures to document events, special gatherings and travel. I must confess, with each passing decade, the memories I have of certain places are essentially the images I made there. But as long as you have a camera with you, why not try to make some shots that are more artistic than journalistic. Play around a bit.

Urban Abstract #7, New Orleans (April, 1985)

Nature can be a source of some terrific shapes and patterns…and of course, magnificent color. Our species has also built some fascinating constructions...not many but some. New office buildings up close can be captivating with repeating patterns of steel and glass and the latter can reflect even more complexity to the patterns.

Over 30 years ago, I spent some time walking around the new buildings that grew up around the Superdome in New Orleans. Individually, the structures are unremarkable but with a telephoto lens, I could position myself in a way that captured portions of one or more of the buildings. The long lens foreshortens the view and brings the objects so close together, they seem connected.

Urban Abstract #3, (90ºL) New Orleans (April, 1985)

I’m not documenting a cityscape…not even a building. It’s just part of a building…or two or three. It’s simply an arrangement of lines and patterns and colors. There is no anchoring subject, no sky or horizon to orient the viewer…as ‘abstract’ as this scientist/realist can conceive.

Urban Abstract #9, (90ºR) New Orleans (April, 1985)

Until now, I had always oriented the images as they were taken with regard to what’s up and down, left and right. However, they could be turned 90 or 180 degrees and retain their abstract quality…as I did with the last three shots posted here. The repeating lines, patterns and color may be made even more interesting because the perspective becomes disorienting.

Urban Abstract #11, (180º) New Orleans (April, 1985)

I wish I could find the quote but the essence of it has stuck with me even if I can no longer remember the exact words and the author. Essentially, it says,

It’s one thing to photograph something that has never been seen before…and just as compelling to photograph something in a way it hasn’t been seen before.

Stay creative, my Friends.


At 12:10 PM, Blogger Leslie Williams said...

Ted, I LOVE your urban abstracts! Thank you for helping us to "see things new." Shoot on!

At 2:20 PM, Blogger ~james said...

I think the quote is,"It’s one thing to photograph something that has never been seen before…and just as compelling to photograph something in a way it hasn't been seen bed" but I gave up trying to find the source.

I agree with Leslie Williams, I also love your Urban Abstracts!

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Ted Ringger said...

Thank you, James and Leslie. Your version of the quote is more like what I should have remembered. I guess a take-away here, especially for shooters who consider themselves outdoor, natural light, landscape types is that there are opportunities everywhere.

At 6:25 AM, Blogger Jack Vest said...

You know how much I love your geometric shots. I'd spend a goodly amount of time staring at these in any museum or photography gallery.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Ted Ringger said...

Thank you, Jack. Yes, I have appreciated your interest in this side of my work. Straight lines and the shapes they make have a way of resonating with folks like us who are wired that way.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Kerry Whelan said...



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