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There couldn’t be truer words than those found in the Latin proverb, “By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.” My cameras have taken me to more than 80 countries around the globe, but Tiffini Myers, a student of mine at The Art Institute of California in Hollywood, reminded me that there’s a whole world of photo opportunities waiting for us much closer to home. In fact, as Myers demonstrates in her series of abstract photos, they’re not only closer to home, but they can be found in the home. Myers and I discussed the best ways to discover and photographically capture these hidden gems that, while often in plain sight, are more often overlooked.

Oil Stand
Myers took a scented oil holder with three blue glass triangles and lined them up to get as many shapes as possible. Unlike many of her shots where she uses a minimum depth of field, she closed her aperture to ƒ/14 to get more in focus. Canon EOS Digital Rebel, Canon 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 at 40mm, 1/40 sec., ƒ/14, ISO 400

First, it’s important to understand what abstraction means as it relates to art. The word itself can be loosely defined as something that has been dissociated from its original form. For our artistic endeavors, this translates as a visual language of form, color and line independent in varying degrees from its “real-world” visual reference. For photographers, it’s examining the world in a new, unique way.

Kitchen Sink
Myers noticed patterns created in her kitchen sink with the dishes. She took advantage of the forms—a red plate with Tupperware® on top, filled with water, a spoon inside and the reflection of the blinds in the water. The contrast of the warm-colored shapes with the cooler angles of the blinds is what attracted her eye. Canon EOS Digital Rebel, Canon 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 at 40mm, 1/20 sec., ƒ/4.5, ISO 1200



Look for patterns in manmade objects, nature and a combination of the two. Patterns in architecture are an endless source of photo opportunities for interesting abstractions. A long telephoto lens can bring you into an interesting part of a building, rather than just documenting the structure itself.

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