See Beyond the Picture

I want to…

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The story behind the picture.

Illuminating insights that bring symbolism, meaning, and imagination to my abstract photography.

An abstract image of photo artist, Ann Newman, with the abstract photo of a sunset rainstorm in the Grand Canyon.

Welcome to Annstracts!  As you might have gathered, my name is “Ann,” and I gravitate to taking abstract photos.  Hence, the blur between my name and “abstracts.” This is me above, and yes, you can see inside my head.  Kidding.  Actually, you really wouldn’t want to, let me assure you.  It’s a crowded place, but that’s where I spend a lot of time.

As you linger on my website, you will see that all the images here are ones I’ve taken.  Well, there are a few images not taken by me, but they are of me.  So that’s fair.  I gave credit where credit was due.  The truth is, I have not grown long enough arms to do a suitable selfie.  Nor do I want to grow longer arms. Carrying around loads of camera gear has made them stretch, but not long enough.

My other passion outside of abstract photography is writing.  I’ve blended these two loves into one project. I aim to provide positive insights, uplifting ideas, and hopefully stir your imagination. Sometimes I explain what the funny story was while I was taking a photo. Other times, I am hit with some insight about life, the universe, and everything (one of my favorite books, btw) after I get to review the photo. I’d like to believe there are a few of you out there that would love to look at a photo beyond just a cursory glance and feel something. I hope you’re the ones who will sign up for my regular photo posts and blog.



Abstract ocean sunset with calm waves and orange glow on blue water.An abstract ocean sunset from the “Vitamin Sea – Ocean Inspiration” collection, abstract photo wall art titled “Freedom from Desire.” Photo by abstract artist, Ann Newman.


Waiting on the shore, watching the swells in the distance, the sun cast an orange glow on the water. Earlier, I had been trying to take photos of waves cresting. I’d watch and wait for the perfect one to form then snap the shutter at just the right moment. No easy task, for certain.

As this sunset scene developed, I realized that if I let go of my desire to capture the “perfect” wave, I could just enjoy the calm of the moment. I slowed the speed on the camera down, then let the swells come and go, creating a smoother surface. A wave comes, it goes. Another takes its place. Such simplicity. When I need a mental picture to calm my thoughts, I think of this water. It rises, it falls. Another wave takes its place. Endlessly. With ease. This is my reminder to practice “Freedom from Desire.”

The magic of wonder.

As an abstract photo artist, I look for beauty and meaning in what might go unnoticed. My photo art prints are typically close-up, isolated photography, allowing for the discovery of symbolism. For instance, on the promenade by the ocean at Pacific Beach, I saw a performing artist creating huge soap bubbles. I chased their moving shapes with my camera and captured just a cross-section of three of them drifting before popping in a splatter.

By focusing my photo on a small area, you may naturally wonder, without the backstory, what is that? The colors are bright and vivid, there are definite shapes, but the rest of the scene is absent. You are free to decide what the experience will be for you. For me, I saw a child’s enthusiasm in this piece of abstract photo art.

Spark enthusiasm with abstract art San Diego. Abstract colorful wall art of close up of soap bubbles floating.     



Wall art decor from Dream Interpretations: Abstracts titled “Enthusiasm.” Photo artist, Ann Newman.    



The benefit of wonder.

The more I looked for subjects and practiced photographing them, the more I experienced moments of wonder. And much later, I would use those photos to prompt my writing. For me, writing is such a therapy. Plus, I am able to share my inner thoughts with you.

As I wrote, the same feelings I had when I took the pictures grew stronger. I entered the state of flow, and so many times felt like there was some invisible force guiding me. That force, I realized, cultivated a sense of wonder within me that had been absent for a long time. As I continued, I felt vibrant and more on track with my purpose in life.

I recognized that I was a part of a great force at work and felt more grounded. By appreciating the ordinary things, my gratitude increased, my stress decreased, and I felt purpose in life. If you’d like to learn more about how I improved my sense of awe, take a look at About the Artist.

When you are looking for tropical birds, but your mind wanders? You end up with pictures of patterns that would make a great abstract palm tree print. What says “vacation” better than palm trees?

Abstract photo wall art and uplifting observations.

More of my abstract photo art prints and their stories live in the “Shop” section of this site. I’ve also added a page called “Galleries” that are more short stories based on a picture theme.

I hope you enjoy the story behind the picture and that it offers you a unique perception of what I see. I’d love to have you as part of my community by signing up below to be the first to know of new pictures.

Checkout the Latest


The Grand Canyon and Coffee

The Grand Canyon and Coffee

Words to describe the Grand Canyon. Bold. Deep. Complex.  In trying to describe this small section of the Grand Canyon, I thought of coffee. Yes, I wanted a cup. It was cold. Winter. And it was very early. The word "coffee" is simple and understood. So is the...


Alternative Grand Canyon

Alternative Grand Canyon

Click above to see a collection of creative digital art that tells the story of an Alternative Grand Canyon.

Pin It on Pinterest