What is the ICM Photographic Technique?

As a photographic artist, I continually explore a variety of photographic techniques and genres in my work.  One of my areas of interest is creating nature abstracts, and one method for doing that is called Intentional Camera Movement or ICM.  The question then becomes what is ICM all about, and how do you use it for creating abstracts?   

Although the term ICM is pretty simple on the surface, let’s look at it a bit more in-depth.  Often when we take a photo, we want a crisp, clear shot that is in focus.  Notice that I said often, not always since shots that are not 100% crisp and sharp across the entire frame also have value.  The key to achieving the goal of a 100% sharply focused image is to keep the camera still while we take the shot.  This need to keep the camera entirely still is the reason we photographers use tripods—we use them to prevent unintentional camera movement.

So, if a tripod prevents unintentional camera movement, we shoot with the camera in our hands for ICM.  We can do this standing in front of a patch of lavender as in Lavender Fields Forever or from the passenger seat of a moving car.  This is beautifully illustrated in the book Passenger Seat: Creating a Photographic Project from Conception through Execution in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom by Adobe ambassador Julieanne Kost.  The shot shown here was taken on a car trip in the Mojave desert where I was in the passenger seat earlier this year.

The ICM technique is one I’ve been practicing periodically, and on one of my recent photo shoots I had set this as one of my intentions for the outing.  I hope you enjoy the results, and I plan to share more abstract images in the near future.

By the way, my thought for this piece is that while you can certainly print it on paper, if lends itself really well to a large-scale metal or acrylic print.  Did you know that you can use my live preview tool to see this print in your space?  Click here to try it out.