If you have lingered through my site, especially my portfolio, chances are you have been struck by my love for a special kind of fine art architectural photography: “archistract”, or better yet, “archistract art”, or simply “archistract photography”. As a means of exploring this concept in its depths, while practicing it over many years now, I have ventured into a functional and applied definition for those who like to practice this type of photography:
Archistract - “A concept, philosophy, and classification of fine art photography that focuses on the abstract qualities of various architectural styles and subjects using monochrome or colour compositions while highlighting patterns, forms, geometry, and gradations of light and shadows across various exposures. ‘Archistract’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘architecture’ and ‘abstract’. It is a style of abstract and architectural photography that has recently evolved into a cohesive and functional vision combining elements and traditions found in abstract art, architecture, and photography as a whole.”
One of the main reasons I wanted to define it was because I have seen different terminology for abstract photography that didn’t quite satisfactorily fit with in my own thinking about this type of architectural photography nor exemplify its true essence and potential for me. I have taught students about this type of photography in practical terms in the field and have theorized about it at length. As I have talked about it more and more it struck me that I have been applying this concept against the backdrop of abstract art traditions and modern architecture all along with my own constellation of ideas. I now have a cohesive interpretation of what it means to practice archistract art as I envision it. Here is a table explaining the different tenets, theories and types of archistract art as a photographic discipline:
Art does not always fit into nice little boxes because of it’s subjective nature, however it does fit nicely into historical contexts, traditions, and movements relatively well. I have included the works of great abstract artists for educational purposes and juxtaposed them against some of my own photos and theories. I have also included “the 7 elements of Art” that many are familiar with as artists and a “puzzle analogy” to offer a visual transition of the types of archistract art. I have used this type of analogy to relate the information to a common idea about how the sum of the parts can equal the whole (the actual physical building) but that the whole may look different as you are putting all the parts together bit by bit (your photographic vision of the building). While standing there in contemplative wonder about how you are going to photograph a beautiful building, you are faced with a puzzle to be solved based on your own photographic vision. You will also notice that the “Contextual Archistract” type and examples include long exposure photographs of architecture (e.g., clouds as an element of abstraction along with the architecture), multiple elements in a photograph where the main subject or visual focus is on architecture but it can also include subjects such as people (e.g., “ghosts”) or other buildings within the context of abstracted architecture.
I hope this post has offered you some insights about my own formulation of archistract art. If you like to practice this type of photographic art like I do, consider yourself an “Archistrateur” or “Archistract Artist” : )
Thank you for stopping by…