Linda Ruan: Photographs of Abstraction


Photography, Text, & Video by Linda Ruan, Copyright 2017




The theme of this project is to define an object within a space, and the idea of abstraction first came to mind. I wanted to photograph my objects close enough so that they would be unrecognizable and undefinable.

I chose to shoot daily objects in this series of ten photographs, which is comprised of a snow-covered ground, glasses, walls, a washer, the sky with three wires, and flowers. In addition, I chose to edit them all in black and white in order to make them even harder to be recognized. It is interesting to see how those familiar objects have transformed into objects of abstraction through enlargement and extraction of color.

Moreover, I played with light and shadow during the shooting process. Firstly, it created more contrast in the images, adding more details to the photographs. Secondly, it helped creating a visual effect. For example, when I was shooting glasses, I used a reading light to light them up. Since the light source is small yet focused, the light reflected on the glass is strong, which, then created a strong shadow, a reflection of the glasses. Therefore, the combination of the glasses and their shadows creates mystery, transforming into an image of abstraction. 

I was also playing with the reflection of water on the wall of my apartment in this project. Again, I used a reading light as my light source. I put a glass of water on the table, but instead of pointing the light directly at it from the top, I lowered the position of the light source and lit the water from the side so that the reflection of it would appear on the wall behind the object. The result is the wavy lines, something undefinable,  yet interesting. 

The point of this project is not to let the viewer figure out what those objects are. Giving a definition is tedious. Rather, I attempted to challenge the concept of our traditional definitions of those objects by shooting them as close-ups and making the objects appear nonfigurative. Instead of representing their original forms, those objects are now symbolized. They can represent textures and express mood.

However, even though they are now photographs of abstraction, it was me who took these pictures and wanted them to look that way. So they are still being defined. Overall, it is all about perspective.   



About The Author: Linda Ruan is a sophomore with Painting and Art History concentration at Bryn Mawr College.  To access additional articles by Linda Ruan, go here


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