Over the many years I’ve been a photographer, I’ve experimented with a number of creative techniques. I began shooting film, way back when, and learned how to use the darkroom in college. I experimented with the basics, and then less mainstream techniques like double exposure to add an element of mystery to the final image.
I also enjoyed incorporating photography into my printmaking work. Although it doubled the processing time, I found photography in combination with printmaking gave my work depth and added visual interest that could only be achieved by two unique processes being layered with one another.
There was a magic that occurred with this technique. The image became more than a photograph, more than just a single moment captured in time. Bringing these elements together with the unpredictability of this sort of fusion is one of the very first ways I fell in love with photography.
Fast-forward many years later, as I slowly shifted from my beloved film into the digital age, and it was as if I had to learn all over again the methods of creating photographs with that kind of layered texture and depth. The digital darkroom, which was in fact more convenient and accessible, became a playground of options for my experimental artist’s heart. Although I’ve enjoyed that process, because I’m still drawn to creating work that includes the complexity of layers, I don’t always have the time or the patience to create the layered images of my dreams, like I did back in college.
Luckily, I’ve discovered a fun and easy (albeit, sometime challenging) way to capture that layered look in a single frame with no postprocessing work required. With the use of simple and often subtle reflections on a variety of reflective surfaces, I’m able to experiment and play in real time as I shoot, instead of having to wait until I process my images. This gives me a spontaneous freedom and an added bonus of being constantly aware of my surroundings in anticipation of the perfect reflection to use in a photograph.
All reflections aren’t created equal. There are mirrors, liquids, metallics and glasses of all types, to name a few. Each surface will offer a totally unique final result, and each image you create on or through that surface will yield something that’s nearly impossible to reproduce.