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The subject as Abstract

cow1.jpg© Hinda Schuman

Is this a cow? What about Magritte’s painting entitled “This is not a pipe” True it is not a pipe, it is a painting of a pipe. In fact this is not a cow at all. It is a fiberglass impression of a cow, and more to the point, it is a photograph of part of a fiberglass cow.  So what does this have to do with cows, portraits of cows, national cow day or anything else dairy related. This photography tip is actually about less is more. A viewer can look at this image and figure out that it is part of a cow.

cow2.jpg© Hinda Schuman

The second image tells even more information without giving the whole cow away. Allowing the viewer to come to their own conclusions, not giving away all possible information, is part of the joy of creating a photograph. How little information can you give and still tell a story, or still create a sense of light, or emotion, or composition? A great assignment to complete is to photograph a subject, and reduce it to the smallest amount of information and still make a point.

I offer cow1 and cow 2 as examples. Which is more fun to look at? The second cow photograph is the kind to run in every small town paper. The local celebrity tries to milk a cow. Everyone thinks this funny because so few cows are milked by hand any more, and so few people know which end of cow milk comes from. It is alive with goofiness, and fun for a minute. But does it warrant a second look?


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