William Oldacre Photography

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Abstract Is So Easy – Why Bother?!

Light Signatures series, day, colour photograph, art, abstract, abstract expressionism, creative, city street, urban, downtown, cityscape, speed, blur, movement, motion, red, green, brown, muted, streaks, patterns

Red Green Blue Streaks, 2011 – Light Signatures :: (click to see more)

I need to be clear. Good abstract is NOT so easy. Yes, just about anyone can make abstract work in whatever medium you choose. Go for it, you can do it too. We all did it as little children and imbued it with our imaginations. They weren’t abstracts then, they were animals, people, skies, you name it. We were expressing ourselves in one of the few ways we knew how.

The thing is, it’s difficult to consistently produce interesting images no matter what your style. This is not to say – hey look at me isn’t my abstract work the greatest – but I do think I am producing interesting images, or I wouldn’t continue to bother.

I never intended to make abstract photographs and I may not always do it either. I kind of fell in to it by chance. I had a waking dream in 1999 (the year we were all supposed to party – a la Prince) where I solved a dilemma about colour I had been toying with. I was enamored with a technique called Cross Processing. It gives your images an exaggerated negative colour effect that I think is incredibly beautiful. Remember, we’re talking film here not digital.

The problem for me was the permanence of the process. You took an exposed roll of precious images and committed them to the chemistry and took your chances. I wanted choice. I wanted to see the images I had made and then decide to apply the process if I thought it was appropriate.

So in my waking dream I was puzzling over exactly what the chemical process was achieving and thought to myself, hey self, you can reproduce this with a curve in Photoshop and here is what it would probably look like. You can imagine, I leapt out of bed and ran to my computer gear – which at the time was taking up all of our already tiny living room (this is just before I opened my studio – thank god I did that, it was crowded in our house) and I gave it a try on a small image file and voila it worked and was amazing. The image file just happened to be an image I had made shooting just after dusk while driving down Roncesvalles Avenue in the neighbourhood where we live.

And so my current life as an abstract photographer was born. Thus began my exploration and presentation of the city as a dynamic cooperative entity always in motion. The body of work was called Metro Motion.

I was – I am still – seeking a way to reveal the overlooked and submerged character of our home by eliminating visual clutter and focusing on shape and colour AND if I can figure a way to integrate it, sound too.

I wish to present – a sensual feast.       Enjoy.