My Muses: Form

Function follows form
This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, Muse, poses a simple enough challenge, “So what’s your muse — what subject do you turn to frequently, more inspired each time?”

I’m going to go with the subject of form itself. A bit abstract, I know, and some may think it ducks or sidesteps the challenge. But when I consider the subjects I go back to, again and again — such as painted walls, geological formations, urban objects and spaces — it is always form itself which draws me there. It’s why so much of my work is abstraction, breaking down the subjects being photographed into lines and shapes, often flattened to a two-dimensional rendering, and often the original subject itself becomes unrecognisable in the photograph. But even framing a landscape I am entirely aware of the formal elements at play. Form is the central concern of nearly every frame I shoot.

When I say form, I think primarily of these elements: light and shadow, colour and tone, texture. What I’m most interested in is the way these form line and shape, and the interplay of lines and shapes in the frame. I always look for a subject, a place for the eye to rest — where it most wants to be — but I also look for gestures in the lines and shapes which motivate the eye to wander, to explore.

I suppose what fascinates me most about pure form is that it can be beautiful, that it can move people emotionally, without representing any particular meaning, story or emotional content.

Of course, what fascinates me even more is that I can nearly always find meanings in even the most abstract forms, meanings which become words. And that is the function of this blog. Function follows form.

New Westminster Public Library
New Westminster
British Columbia, Canada, 2015
This is just one of a few responses to the challenge. You might check out these other muses of mine.

I’ve featured Essss, one of my favourite explorations of form, first posted with Be Made of Iron.

Here are examples of other images which are primarily expressions of form.