Breaking Mirrors

One of my current fav shots from a shoot that I did with Andrew Silks a couple of months ago.. and since then I’ve had  a few people ask me how I came up with it, so I thought I’d write a little the behind the scenes post here.  Andy was such a great dancer to collaborate with, I originally shot for him for his audition pics this year (he just graduated from Ellison Ballet School and is off to Tulsa Ballet in the fall); we had just gotten into doing some fun stuff with his ‘crazy’ tights, when we ran out of time.  So I asked him back to do some more experimenting with me and this was one of the results!

Shooting on a 10×25 foot piece of blackout material (I prefer the material over a seamless paper as it doesn’t reflect any light and gives a deep black) we used the 4×8 foot mirrored plexiglass in the studio I had purchased for a jewelery shoot that I’d been wanting to play with.

So we started out with him bending and moving with the mirror itself, and found the best way to light him to avoid the inevitable reflections of light from all angles was to have two lights almost 45 degrees upstage (a dancer term for towards the back of the background).  We spent a little time testing the boundaries of the plexi when of course, it had to break on us!  After much laughter and a little hoping that the 7 year rule only applied to real mirrors and not plexiglass, we continued on to find that it was much easier to work with a small piece of the mirror rather than the whole for certain affects.  When we found the angle for this shot I knew we’d ‘gotten’ it!

In the world of post production there is just so much you can do with an image, sometimes it’s less is more, sometimes more is more, and sometimes you just work with something till you know you love it.  The last is usually my general approach.  The original shot:

I knew I wanted the mirror to reflect with more ‘mental’ faces, the voices that we hear in our heads that are so clear to us but not to outsiders.

Next I played with several different effects, settling on one that gave me the feel of his energy/essence being drawn up from the bottom of his body to come out his hand and surround the mirror and the different faces or voices.  This was done primarily with the liquify tool.

A final few tweaks and we have the finished image:

I hope you enjoy!  Send me a note if you have any questions, or if you’d like to book a shoot

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2 thoughts on “Breaking Mirrors”

  1. My name is Carol Davis and I’m a fellow blogger and photography intern for the Vasa Transmedia Project. The Vasa Project’s vision is to bring photographers and other visual artists together to share work, ideas, exhibition information, essays on photography and new media in a dynamic and interactive online environment called Vasa Transmedia. We want to invite you to contribute essays, personal work, reviews, etc. to the Vasa blog and essentially become a part of the Vasa Transmedia community. If you are interested we would appreciate you linking your blog to the Transmedia blog and we ask that you add us to your blog roll as well. Essentially our goal is to bring photographers, writers and visual artists under one umbrella. We would also like you to consider doing a gallery talk about your work sometime in the future.You can check Transmedia Blog out at the link below. You can post a request to the blog to be a contributor and we will get back to you with submission details.

    “Transmedia is a global networking project publishing the work of artists, theorists, critics and others on an international scale transcending traditional media categories. At a time when global networked communications are breaking down traditional concepts of space and time and moving beyond traditional forms of publication and networking, Transmedia, VASA’s Blogging Project, connects people to events and people to people. The Transmedia, blog will cover photography, video, sound, digital art and theory. Transmedia will focus on artists, writers and theorists from north, south, central America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.”


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