Abstracting nature – variations on a photographic theme

Something a little different today.  Last Saturday, in glaring sunshine, I participated in a thematic photo walk along the Donaukanal near Kunsthaus Wien – Museum Hundertwasser.  From time to time the museum offers photo walks based on themes in their current exhibitions.  “Some Plant Volatiles” by Hamburg-based photographer Jochen Lempert provided the foundation for Saturday´s walk.

Jochen Lempert studied biology and later delved into photography.  He lives in Hamburg and publishes scientific works as well as his photographic works.  In 2017 he received the Camera Austria Prize for Contemporary Photography.  At the Kunsthaus Wien, his photos are displayed lying flat in glass cases.  I have to say I prefer the more traditional display style of framed pictures on a wall, but I can see that this way of showing them is an interesting analogy to the way specimens are shown in natural history museums.  The photos themselves are black and white, often intentionally overexposed or under-exposed to bring out silhouettes, and generally show nature from an unusual vantage point.

Lempert Exhibition
The photos at the exhibition by Jochen Lempert are displayed in glass cases at the Kunsthaus Wien.

We were tasked with going through nature with open eyes and working out special details:  Structures on trees and leaves, reflections and shadows on water, etc.  Working with different exposure settings, angles, variations on sharpness and blur, we tried to produce interesting “artsy” images  under the guidance of Austrian photographer Christina Werner.  The idea was also to blur the borderline between nature and abstraction.

So today you are getting to see a selection of what I produced.  Mind you, I am merely a hobby photographer – but with a passion for both nature and photography 🙂


Showing movement
Here I tried to show pattern by overexposing, but also movement, by leaving a longer shutter time to blur some of the branches moving in the wind.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I have placed some of the photos in gallery format, so if you want to see all of them it is better to go to the website or on your mobile, as the gallery display is not visible in the newsletter.

Shadows on leaf
Shadows on a plant leaf
Shadows on leaves
The task here was to show shadows and contrast
Fly on a plant leaf
A fly provided an additional motif for my plant/shadow experiments


We were also asked to take photos of water and capture the reflections, shadows, and perhaps an unusual perspective.

I really kind of like the way slight underexposure brings out details and lifts the plant out of the background.  The opposite is a strong overexposure, which washes out and changes colors, but also makes for an interesting effect.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Patterns are everywhere.  Sometimes a leaf on an asphalt path can provide an interesting still life. (1 and 2 below are slightly different – can you see what I did here?)



In the end we walked to a little community vegetable garden.  The shade net there provided another interesting motif to contrast with the surrounding trees.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, what do you think of these abstractions of nature?


The exhibition of photographs by Jochen Lempert at the Kunsthaus Wien is on view until 10 June 2018.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: