Abstract Photography As Fine Art – Presentation By Nat Coalson ARPS

On Wednesday 30th October 2019 Dunchurch Photographic Society were proud to host the welcome return of Nat Coalson (ARPS) who had travelled from Hinckley in order to give a presentation on making fine art from abstract photography. Nat had visited us at Dunchurch last season as the judge for our Projected Image competition for the President’s Trophy. 

Dunchurch Photographic Society were also very pleased to be joined by our good friends and neighbours from Lutterworth Photographic Society.  

Unfortunately, the WI Hall at Dunchurch was in the process of being decorated and it was a challenge to make the hall habitable for the evening. As Chairman I wish to re-iterate the Committee’s sincere apologies for the malodorous environment inside the hall during the evening to all those attending and of course to our guest speaker, Nat Coalson. It isn’t like that every week, fortunately! 

So, on the evening, with that ‘elephant’ in the room addressed, I handed over proceedings to Nat to enable him to commence his presentation. And what an inspirational, eye-opening and thought-provoking presentation it was! 

In the first half, Nat gave us an introduction explaining what abstract photography is and explaining the various elements that are required to satisfy that particular brief. He spoke with assurance and with demonstrable expertise in his craft. Nat also outlined what was required to then transform abstract photography images into ‘fine art.’ This included large, or extra-large printing onto canvas or metal, and also involved ‘mixed-media’ acrylic paint embellishment to create something truly unique. 

Nat used a sample of his images to help convey the context of ‘abstract’ and help the audience understand which elements we may have previously considered to be abstract, but which are in fact are not actually true examples of the abstract, demonstrating that in its truest form, abstract should leave the viewer pondering ‘what is this I am looking at?’ or ‘what does this actually mean?’. It was both intriguing and thought provoking to see some of Nat’s abstract works, illustrating how often simple things can ‘confuse’ or even ‘misdirect’ the viewer’s interpretation and yet still achieve a pleasing and interesting image! 

It was a busy night in the hall and, with guests from Lutterworth swelling the attendance, the refreshment break was busy for Liz and Jean, who kindly volunteered to staff the tea roster for this particular evening. Prompt and efficient service enabled the break to run smoothly, and an extra special thanks to them both for the plethora of cakes that had been supplied especially.

In the second half of the presentation, Nat Coalson continued to demonstrate his abstract photography images and helped to set the scene relating to ‘Series.’ By this, Nat explained that it is quite important for abstract photographers to work with a concept, or a style, over more than one image to create a series of images that when put together add a little more context, or flavour, back into the intent of what the photographer or artist is trying to achieve. A single image may look or feel good to a photographer but a series on the same theme, or processed in the same style, even if it’s a slightly different viewpoint each time, can be very effective indeed – especially if you are seeking to sell pieces as fine art. 

Nat also showcased a wonderful image featuring blue glass that had been melted and juxtaposed sympathetically with ordinary kitchen tin foil. Lines, shapes, and patterns were very noticeable, along with the abstract fantasy, almost alien, landscape such materials created. It was a new concept that Nat is currently working on and will no doubt be part of another successful ‘series’ of work in that media for him. 

Before taking feedback and questions from the audience, Nat Coalson explained more about how his work has been demonstrated at craft/art fairs, within galleries and even restaurants, with guidance on how photographers and artists can get into the realms of selling their work should they so choose. 

In summary, Nat provided the audience with an inspirational ‘tour de force’ of abstract photography and how this can transform into unique pieces of fine art or limited/open editions for sale. We look forward to welcoming Nat back to Dunchurch Photographic Society again in the future, as well as our guests from Lutterworth Photographic Society. Hopefully with the hall in better, more presentable shape! Grrrrrrrrr!

Thank you Nat!

Report compiled by David J. Bray (Chairman).