Mirrors and There is always a winner

April 10, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

This week I've spent some time organizing my wet plate archive and I noticed how often and regularly I'm using mirrors for my studio works. Looking glasses are a tricky thing. For example, do you know why mirrors are flipping the picture horizontally, but not vertically? They are like a gate to parallel universe, a gateway to another dimension.

If you are making tintypes, the final picture on the plate is inverted. Every plate is literally a mirror of reality. But if you take on the plate a scene which include a looking glass, you will have in that mirror a true (or right) representation of reality. Even more I'm fascinated with the optical qualities of mirrors. With a help of mirrors, I can show things from more than one angle, exactly like cubism did. On the plate I can construct my own world, like a puzzle from inverted and double inverted pieces glued together by light. 



shallow deep of field creates together with mirrors an interesting combination. Maybe it is not a coincidence that I prefer for work in the studio a plain F4.5 lens without an aperture. Actually, I can say that in the last months I'm using just fully open lenses in studio, in contrary in the landscape, where I'm working with F64. It looks that I'm a Man of Extremes, at least in something.

With this composition I have to use the full horizontal movement of the camera back to hold the flower in mirror sharp. Wet plate tintypes are something like a Polaroid photography of 19th century. They give an immediate result, but with zero space for correction. You have what you take. And every plate is an original. Whatever consistent I'm trying to be, every plate is different. The light is changing and when you are making exposure in seconds manually with a lens cap, it is easy to make a plus minus half second difference. I usually take two or three plates of every final scene. When I have a very very good day, all of them can be usable, but every time there is an more or less obvious winner.   




You can find my best plates on Etsy




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