I’ve been wondering about abstraction.
In general, I love abstract ideas and art. But I also prefer non-fiction to fiction. I prefer travel to movies and video games.
I find the simplicity of abstraction powerful and impactful. And therein lies abstraction’s potential for evil, I suppose. By abstracting war, news and video games make it feel like any other sporting event, only with the score being kept with the number of dead. By abstracting complex policies and issues into sound bites, the mainstream media does everyone a disservice by (over)simplifying the debate.
I enjoy the experience of abstraction. Both as creator and observer. When I started photographing seriously, I was very much into abstraction (here’s a sample). Recently though its been a lot more anchored in reality. Why the shift? A lot of this has to do with the surfeit of abstraction in every day life … in the news especially.
I suppose one can think of the last decade as the ‘abstract decade’.
Some of it has to do with the move to India and all of the recent travel.
I hope that the next one is a lot more reality-based and that we take the time to think about the complex issues that are with us and around us.
Here’s wishing everyone a really real and wonderful new decade!
P.S. I am halfway through Gurcharan Das’ book ‘The Difficulty of Being Good‘ and it has an interesting take on abstraction and realism.