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New Way to Shoot Architecture: Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist

June 30, 2016
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist

In its purest form, abstract art is the visual representation of theoretical ideas. With brush and canvas, an artist can easily depict such sparks of inspiration, but photography is different. An image almost always includes something of the original scene.

This is why Aryton Page (@Arytron), an immensely popular Instagrammer from Honolulu, uses the world around him to create fascinating pictures with a minimalist, abstract-like aesthetic soaked in candy colors. We talked to him about his work, and asked for his best advice on abstract architecture iPhone photography.
 
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist
 

Finding the Medium

As an island child, born and raised in Hawaii, Page was surrounded by dazzling Pacific colors. Now aged twenty-seven, his work is filled with these semi-tropical hues, but he attributes his style more to parental influences. “I always had an inherent interest in photography and art,” he tells me — “more so because my dad had always painted.”

 
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist
 

At first, phone photography was just another form of experimentation for Page, and the streets around him served as an artistic playground. “Architecture instantly drew my attention due to the symmetry and many shapes they [buildings] create, depending on how you look at them.” His images were well received. “The architecture community is very strong and supportive on Instagram, and I was fortunate to find them and have them embrace me.”

 
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist
 

Seeing Differently

At eighteen, Page moved to Las Vegas for a change of scenery. There was plenty of architecture, of course, but his inquisitive eye turned to other subjects. “I was amazed by all the interesting architecture everywhere I looked. But then I would find myself pulling over to the side of a road to take a picture of a tree or cactus, and ignoring the building right next to it.” Nature started to appear more frequently in his work, as did other details that most photographers might miss.

 
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist
 

Page explains the method he has now perfected. “As I go about my day, I’m always trying to look at things I see every day in a different way. I pick a subject and approach it from different angles. This subject can be a tree, a building, a lamppost, or anything that may catch your eye.” The chosen subject is then framed in order to exclude distractions. “Bright sunlight and a clear sky puts all the focus on your subject,” he adds.

 
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist
 

While Page is clearly gifted, this way of seeing can be learned. Try to look for patterns and unusual shapes in your environment, particularly where there are relatively few distractions nearby. For inspiration, simply look at how Page contrasts the endless windows of high-rise blocks with perfect clear skies, and presents lampposts as graceful, swan-like creatures.

 
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist
 

Editing, Not Manipulation

Exuberant colors and surrealist compositions are Page’s trademark, but he tells me that his images are mostly made in-camera. “It’s important to line up and compose your shot so that it requires little to no adjustment when it comes to straightening and cropping.” And the colors? “My editing process is tweaking the brightness, saturation, contrast, and highlights first; then I experiment with adjusting the colors and tones until I find a combination I like.”

 
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist
 

In Enlight, these adjustments can be found under Image > Adjust > Tools tab, while the Presets tab offers some good starting points.
The experimental aspect is simply about moving the sliders around until you find an attractive look. Remember that the app is non-destructive, so you can play about as much as you like. When you discover a cool style, you can save it as a preset by tapping the blue square with the “+” sign over it that appears in the Presets tab (scroll all the way to the left).

 
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist
 

“Dive Right In”

The main advice Page gives for newcomers to his craft is, quite simply, to take pictures of everything. “Go out and take pictures of subjects you would normally never pay much attention to. You may get odd looks from people because you’re taking pictures of a lamppost, but that comes with the territory.” He says that this process is how you learn what works and what doesn’t.

 
New Way to Shoot Architecture: Go Abstract, Colorful & Minimalist
 

On a technical note, he points to an important principle of his methodology. “Try not to have things in your composition that might detract any attention from what you want people to see…the less context you provide, the more you leave it to your viewers’ imagination.”

Imagination, after all, is the name of the game.

 
 
 

Written by: Mark Myerson.

Images by: Arytron Page. Aryton is an architecture and minimalist photographer from Honolulu. He shoots almost exclusively with his iPhone.

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Mark Myerson
Mark Myerson

Mark is a freelance journalist and professional photographer based in the UK. He specializes in writing about the subject of iPhoneography, and is an avid mobile photographer in his spare time. When he isn't typing, he can usually be found exploring the countryside, camera in hand.

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