Square abstracts

I love abstract photography. It liberates you from looking for what you are supposed to see, and lets you take your creativity where it wants to go. Today I thought I would share three black and white square abstracts.

Square aspect ratio photography is a great way to focus more on lines, which is what is being explored in these three images. They come from wildly varying locations with different lighting: a harbor wall on a rainy afternoon in Ireland, railway tracks at night in Los Angeles, and a church undergoing renovations lit by the sun through windows in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. Even so, the lines — some straight, some curved — provide a unifying theme.

Harbor detail on the Irish coast

Harbor Abstract II

Railway tracks in Los Angeles

Downtown Railway Tracks

Church detail in Dordrecht, Netherlands

Church Detail II

© 2010-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.

Beauty in the ordinary

I find the most satisfaction in photography when I manage to create an image of ordinary objects that possess extraordinary beauty in their own way.  When I was on the coast of Ireland in a tiny fishing village of which I do not recall the name, I passed a pile of fishing equipment on the harbor quay. The fishing lines and ropes had the most incredible colors and textures.

Fishing gear on the Irish coast

Fishing Rope Study IV

Fishing gear on the Irish coast

Fishing Rope Study I

Fishing gear on the Irish coast

Fishing Rope Study II

Looking at the weathered ocean fishing gear makes me think of the endless days and nights of rain, fog, gale and sun that the equipment and the people using them endure. It makes me think of generation after generation of fishermen with stories of adventure, of nature’s force and nature’s beauty, of friendship and hardship. A topic that absolutely warrants further exploration.

© 2010-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.

Little pieces of the puzzle

A week or so ago, I realized that in the entire collection of several hundred images I shot on a trip to the gorgeous Olympic National Park there was none that I was actually happy with. It turned out that this was a good time to remind myself of the following.

Out of many hundreds or thousands of images, we deem only a handful good enough to be framed and hung on a wall or put in a portfolio. And that is on a good day. Henri Cartier-Bresson even famously said:

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.

From those words, we might even conclude that we might not get any worthwile images before reaching the 10,000 mark. This may not be true, but there is value in the thought that we just need a lot of practice to hone our technical and creative skills as photographers.

Sometimes the low ‘success rate’ can be very discouraging. However, all the other images that never ‘make it’ are not failures. Instead, they are the necessary little pieces that have contributed to and were essential to the creation of the images that did make it into a print or portfolio.

We needed those pieces to help us give form to our imagination and creativity, and to help us gain the technical skill to put that creativity into an image. It is all part of the process, and that is perfectly fine.

As an example of a piece of the puzzle, here is an abstract image of the lighthouse in Marina Del Rey, California. It was purely taken as a creative exercise – but one that I ended up quite liking, and it actually did make it into my portfolio.

Abstract Lighthouse in Marina Del Rey, California

Abstract Lighthouse

© 2010-2015 Laura Jewell Photography. All rights reserved.