For our Absolutely Pollock challenge we asked photographers to seek out instances of accidental human-created abstract beauty. As usual, our Photo Challengers went out into the world with their cameras and came back with a selection of arresting images.
Given the scope of the brief and the fact that we’re talking about abstractions, judging was more difficult than usual. Subjectivity is always a prominent factor in our decision making, but for this particular competition we really pushed the envelope. It was almost as difficult an exercise, and every bit as problematic, as choosing the nicest Rorschach blot or picking the best cloud in a summer sky.
In the end we gave the nod to Peter Murphy for his subtle and intriguingly detailed study entitled Billboard revisted. With the sharply delineated frame and row of vertical panels, it is a fine example of the kind of beautiful abstraction we had in mind. Most people would probably not even have noticed the delicacy of the patterns, but Peter Murphy saw and captured it – complete with the artist’s ‘signature’.
Our choice for first runner-up is another accidental abstraction that takes on a life of its own, thanks to photographer David Haworth’s careful composition. The second runner-up virtual ribbon goes to Wayne Harridge’s impressive found assemblage for its strange layering and curious blended portrait.
We’re not quite sure what Matthew Clarke’s picture is of, but we loved the the strong lines behind the delicate and spidery patterns, and therefore have given it one of our honourable mentions. Also picking up an honourable mention is David Whyte’s muted image of a rusted iron structure. The repetition and the richly textured surface are nicely captured. Additional honourable mentions go to Andy Parkee, Shirley Treasure and Pamela Smith.
In recognition for his contribution to this issue’s challenge, we are pleased to be sending Peter Murphy a set of five ThinkTank non-padded equipment pouches.
First place: Untitled by Peter Murphy
First runner-up: Rust and Brush Strokes by David Haworth
‘I was musing on where I could find examples of mans influence for the Pollock challenge when I noticed the back door to the country Pharmacy I was working in. It had a metal skin attached to prevent break-ins and there had obviously been some serious attempts on it as it was bashed and buckled and not very well painted in the first place.’
Untitled by Wayne Harridge
Untitled by Matthew Clarke
Untitled by David Whyte
Foil by Andy Parkee. ‘In the fridge at my work I noticed that someone had wrapped what was probably a potato or something in foil. I just liked the shapes and angles that the twists of the foil – made by human fingers – made. The orange-y tones are from a combination of the yellow-ish fridge light and other coloured objects and containers located near it. In a vague way the silver and orange together remind me of a tin sheet or shed in the burnt desert outback of Australia.’
Details of the next Photo Challenge are published in Photo Review magazine. Click here to order online or to find out where to buy your copy.