07 October 2011

Seeing Things That Aren't There

As I scroll through my photo collection, something becomes very clear: I like to capture reflections and shadows. In fact, after tree images, such “projection” shots are probably the single biggest category of shots I take.

[Click thumbnails for larger versions.]

Still Life
Three Stooges
Reflecting on Elegance

I used to shoot stacks of chopped wood compulsively. I never met one I didn’t want to immortalize as a priceless and unique little rectangle. Ditto for steps and stairs...couldn’t pass a staircase without snapping it. Even as I pressed the shutter release, I knew it was not the photo I imagined. But *click* went the shutter.
I no longer feel compelled to shoot these subjects. For some odd reason, many many stacks and stairs look alike. Exbhibit A:
It’s not that they don’t sometimes make great images; I’ve simply found that my compulsion to snap them rarely produces “keeper” shots. Now I’m a little more disciplined with those subjects.
Woodchuck Challenge
With reflections and shadows it’s different. I not only shoot them compulsively, I notice them everywhere. And here I can say I’ve never — well, almost never — met a reflection or shadow photograph I didn’t like. They’re all keepers! (Someone else’s eyes might glaze over, but I prize every such shot...)

Intruder | Newport | Almost
Montblanc | Berlin Abstract | Kadett | Market Fountain (clockwise)

Reflecting on Reflecting

What’s so special about reflections and shadows? For me, I think the key thought is projection. These projections refer to something in the physical world, but they aren’t themselves the objects. It’s the fascination of visually capturing something that isn’t really there. When we look at a reflection or shadow, we’re seeing a sort of ghostly suggestion of the original. It’s not even three-dimensional, more like a painting or drawing traced by light on a more physical canvas of water, glass, or a wall.

And it’s a painting that changes constantly, maybe never to repeat itself exactly...


Windows II
Windows III

1 comment:

  1. Such an awesome post! interesting to see that your style has evolved...