Reflections are an interesting addition to any photograph. Very often, it simply compliments the subject. In many cases, it is a major component of a photo. But sometimes, a photographer can use a reflection as the subject and as a major compositional element. Photographer Alexandra Iordachescu did just that with her photo, It Was Like I Knew Ch.Dickens.
Alexandra’s use of a casement window serves quite well as a frame. Using objects within a photo as a way to frame the subject is a great way to anchor and emphasize the subject. In this case, the subject is a city scene. But there is one specific building that is perhaps a bit more important than the rest: The steeple of the church. It just so happens that we’re actually viewing the steeple through a reflection. This is an interesting compositional tactic as it puts the steeple in a second frame on the back of the glass of the casement window.
Reflections are of course appealing to the eye. No matter how crystal clear, there are always subtleties that clue our brains into realizing that it’s not the real thing – it’s just a reflection. Perhaps that’s what is appealing to us. Perhaps the backwards world intrigues and captivates. Despite all of the appeal of the mirrored world, however, it is so easy to use reflections incorrectly in a photograph. It’s not enough just to capture a reflection. You need to use them to create a composition. Something beyond the reflection itself needs to capture and hold the attention of the viewer.
The thing that really appeals to me about the way Alexandra uses the reflection in her photo is that it’s almost like a mind trick. At first glance, you almost don’t realize it is a mirror image. The way the steeple fits into the composition, you almost feel like it belongs where it appears. I also love how she used the angle of the window to show us something that would otherwise be hidden. It’s enough to let us disappear into a fantasy. Perhaps, as Alexandra insinuates, we’ll disappear into a Charles Dickens fantasy.
Alexandra has only been uploading photos to Flickr for just a couple of months and so her photostream is relatively small. But the photos that she has contributed – both to her own photostream and to the Shutter Photo @ Flickr Group – have been captivating and inspiring. Her work is going to be something to watch. We will be watching to see what other great things she will share in the many months to come.