Featured Artist Jonathan Katz

Photographer Jonathan Katz presents a collection of abstract images discovered in unexpected places on his urban journeys. Visit his website to see more of his compelling portfolio.

 

abstract photograph of scratches by Jonathan Katz

“Take Cover” photography, sizes vary

 

My abstract photographic work invites viewers to apply their imagination to images of overlooked commonplace objects.

 

Yellow and orange abstract photo closeup of junk

“Interplay” photography, sizes vary

 

The surfaces in which I am most interested in photographing are those treated without concern for their beauty or appearance. The most common of these is the metallic garbage dumpster. Such surfaces are like breeding grounds for randomness as they accumulate unintentional scratches, cracks, dents, stains of many sorts, dirt, and rust.

 

bold blue abstract photo

“Painting” photography, sizes vary

 

In addition to these abused surfaces, I explore naturally generated patterns in common materials such as wood fences and stone tiles. Stained or cracked concrete has also been the basis for some of my favorite images. I put a lot of energy into viewing the real world through an idealized lens. I imagine, often with undue optimism, how a given scene might look once it has been subjected to my photographic process.

 

abstract photo in earth colors by Jonathan Katz

“Metallic Terrain” photography, sizes vary

 

I consider how lines, form, and light values (the tonal range of dark to light) will fill a frame to result in an abstract image that is aesthetically pleasing or challenging. My intention is to convey visual metaphors through my abstract art.

 

abstract photograph looks like a mountain

“Mystic Mountain” photography, sizes vary

 

A metaphor is approximate and literally false. It sparks questions by saying that something is really something else, while knowing that it isn’t exactly so. While we tend to think of metaphor as a mode of verbal/literary thought, I believe that visual metaphor is also common. My work relies heavily on this assumption.

 

dreamy abstract Monet painting scene

“Monet Pond Scene” photography, sizes vary

 

Are the colors in my images are true to life? The answer is that sometimes the colors are very close to reality, but usually they are not. I use software filters freely to optimize an image. This might mean toning down values towards a monochrome palette or enhancing colors for harmony or impact. It is possible to adjust clarity values to blur details towards the abstract. I begrudgingly clone out distracting flaws but keep this to a bare minimum, as preserving some of the underlying reality in each image invites a tension between the real and abstract.

 

abstract photograph in orange and pink

“Smoking Heart” photography, sizes vary

 

My images do not contain any added subject matter or double exposures. For me, a successful photo results when our chaotic world is exploited by photographic intention in a way that allows a viewer to experience something new.

 

abstract photograph dreamy purple

“Abstract Dream” photography, sizes vary

 

When I started taking abstract photos in July of 2017, I wondered whether other people would see the same things in my photos as I did. To a surprising degree, they often don’t. I create each image to maximize what my mind sees, knowing that viewers will provide their own wildly varying and unique interpretations. Images that seem rather specific to me are often received successfully by others as something totally different. An image that stirs a feeling of transcendence for one person may seem deeply ominous or disturbing to another.

 

abstract image closeup photo o f truck scratches

“Truckscape” photography, sizes vary

 

If you would enjoy sharing your thoughts about a specific image, or my work generally, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Jonathan Katz invites you to follow him on Instagram

 

 

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