Paper Abstracts

 
I wanted to create wave-like shapes. I used coloured papers with sidelighting to create this image. Photograph/Nilesh Bhange

I wanted to create wave-like shapes. I used coloured papers with sidelighting to create this image. Photograph/Nilesh Bhange

Nilesh Bhange presents interesting shapes, forms and colours using an everyday object like paper.

My Assignment

  • Description: To create abstract images using paper.
  • Duration: An ongoing project, that I have been doing for almost a year.
  • Notes: Explore the unusual in the mundane, as this provides several opportunities to be creative.

Some time ago, I was browsing the internet and found some images of abstract art. These immediately sparked my interest, and I began wondering about making such images on my own. For a while, I had been thinking about using paper as a subject for photography. The fact that I could not find a lot of photographers experimenting with the same, fuelled me to take this up further. The subject was challenging, but I explored a number of variations and was able to frame paper in several forms.

The interesting part about abstract art it that you are free to compose the images in any manner.

This shot was taken to convey motion using still life. I allowed the ends of the paper to move using a ceiling fan. Photograph/Nilesh Bhange

This shot was taken to convey motion using still life. I allowed the ends of the paper to move using a ceiling fan. Photograph/Nilesh Bhange

 My Perspective
I like to observe the creative use of objects by other photographers. This helps me get clues about representing a certain idea using paper, but most times, I am engaged in paper arrangements as well as colours. No two images end up looking the same, because I arrange my subject in a random manner. To me, what matters is to keep experimenting, and more importantly, to keep enjoying your work.

I took up this project to illustrate how inspiration can come from anywhere. I also keep asking myself why I like a particular composition so I can make different types of images.

The interesting part about abstract art is that you are free to compose the images in any manner, giving more importance to graphical elements. With each image, I try to represent my own perspective, but each individual viewing them is free to interpret them on their own.

 The Process
I usually place an A3-sized coloured drawing sheet on my table. Then, I attach it to the wall, which forms a seamless corner. I arrange four to six layers of paper with different colour combinations, for interesting patterns. The papers can be tied with paper clips or transparent tape to keep them in place.

For lighting, I use one or two strobe lights and sometimes simple daylight from a window works too. The arrangement of strobes can result in various interesting images of the same subject. A wide aperture is preferable as it allows you to have selective focus and pleasing, soft backgrounds.

I used contrasty colours to create an impactful image.Photograph/Nilesh Bhange

I used contrasty colours to create an impactful image.Photograph/Nilesh Bhange

The combination of the background paper’s colour in relation to the subject is very important. The more contrasting the colours are, the more impact they have. Similar colour tones, on the other hand, let the photograph have an overall soft look.

Using thin paper is a good idea as it helps you get more delicate shapes. In shots where the lighting causes the papers to form reflections, I sometimes need to adjust the reflection’s alignment using Photoshop. I am still working on getting good reflections without postprocessing.

The real challenge is to add variations in the patterns of the papers and I am continuing to experiment with the same. Interesting curves, layers and shapes begin to look monotonous after initial attempts. All you need to do is to keep on experimenting with colours and saturation during postprocessing. This can really give dramatic and unique results.There is still a lot to explore with this subject and certainly no end to experiments!

My Equipment
For this series I used the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, along with the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens. Apart from that, I used strobe lights for some shots.

For this image, I allowed light to fall on just the edges of the paper. To me, it looks like fireworks. Photograph/Nilesh Bhange

For this image, I allowed light to fall on just the edges of the paper. To me, it looks like fireworks. Photograph/Nilesh Bhange

Photograph Your Own Abstract Paper Art

  •  Invest in a Good Camera: Any camera that offers a shallow depth-of-field works well to photograph this subject. If you have a DSLR, use a macro lens or an extension tube so you can capture extreme close-ups.
  • Be Organised: Keep everything near you, so you can access them easily.
  • Experiment with Postprocessing: You can play with colours, hue and saturation using Photoshop to enhance your photographs even more.

To view more of Nilesh’s photographs, you can visit www.flickr.com/photos/bnilesh

 

Tags: abstract, better photography, colours, june 2012, Nilesh Bhange, On Assignment, Paper, still life, Strobe Lighting