As a concept, abstract photography is often seen as a contradiction in terms. Photographs, after all, always represent some trace of physical reality, even if it is not immediately recognizable. The medium's inherent knack for representation paradoxically makes it an ideal instrument for probing and challenging the language of abstraction.
Consequently, abstraction has never been anything like orthodoxy in photography. It’s always been peripheral to the medium and dropped in and out of vogue and critical prominence.
Abstraction in photography generally refers to the Abstract Expressionist style and high seriousness of the non-representational photographic work from the 1950's by Aaron Siskind, Minor White and others (including Harold Edgerton, Stan Brakhage, Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy and Gyorgy Kepes).
Is there a movement of contemporary abstraction in todays art photography? Art photography has been dominated by a factual, relatively unemotional work: water towers, suburban developments, and austere portraits ruled within the prevalent movements of New Topographics and the Dusseldorf School of photography.
Is there a movement of non representational photography that makes make visible the tension between abstraction and camera representation, and which has it roots in post-modernism? What is over, after postmodernism, is the narrow view of photography — the idea that the camera is a recording device, not a creative tool, and that its product is strictly representational — not manipulated, not fabricated, not abstract.