Reflection, my way

Disclaimer: This article handle a different topic: photography and art design. It is a tentative to explain my way of understanding, enjoying and presenting pictures with reflection or mirror shapes. 

Japanese garden – The Hague

I called it Reflection, my way. Though is not such an original name, it is an interesting concept. Today this technique is in experimental phase: there are still a lot of aspects to be improved. First of it, the quality of the pictures: smartphone are far more portable but there is no comparison with SLR camera.

The idea. The idea is quite simple, you shot a reflection picture, and then you flip it upside down. Works in any places with a reflective surface, but not only lakes or ponds but also modern structures (for example the Barcelona’s airport shop center at terminal 1).

The quality and accuracy of the result depends on the reflection. It’s not so easy to have completely still water on a lake, for example. On perfect reflections, is very difficult to notice the twist and the viewer get a weird sensation of something not completely right with that picture. It gives you more or less the same feeling of when you look at a drawing of M.C.Escher, where the dimensions and the prospective are altered.

Buildings – The Hague [note there is an item out of place]

But, how is this happening? The human brain can be, in a simplistic way, be divided in two different parts, charactersways of thinking (call it as you like). In Thinking fast and slowDaniel Kahneman, refers to System 1 as the part that works more instinctively and, without effort of concentration, provides us impressions, reactions and feelings; System 2, on the other hand, is the part that is invoked when we are making operations that require attention, concentration , for example calculating, reading, active thinking. In our everyday life those two system are coexisting, but often they are colliding: for instance is not so easy to walk in a difficult path and calculate 27 * 31.

Back on our pictures. This technique’s goal is indeed to generate conflict in our brain. Our instinct knows that something is wrong in the picture, the pattern matching we apply with our experience (a real scenario) doesn’t match any real situation we have been living. We know there is something wrong, but we cannot tell immediately what. Most of the cases the twist is going to be found, but It might take some time to figure out, as it requires concentration and attention to watch carefully the picture.

Below you can see some examples. Most of them still are not perfect, I didn’t care to correct the mistakes, but they are  something where to start from. I believe, with time, I will achieve some good results.

For now, it would be just great to have a constructive feedback from you, dear reader.

Japanese garden – The Hague

Vlietland – Voorschoten – Leiden

The Hague


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