Reflecting on reflections

Yesterday was a pretty amazing one weather wise, and although the harsh light and shadows are not a photographer's friends, walking under the January sun still beats slogging around in the wind and rain just because bad days have that perfect, overcast light.


A sunny day in Amsterdam almost requires you to drop by the Museumplein area, because of its open spaces, the amount of people just hanging around, the events and activities going on and so on, so that is where I went, hoping to get some nice people pics while I was there.

On reaching the Rijksmuseum, however, I couldn't help but notice the doors on the side of the gallery were open, while still blocked by a layer of glass, which perfectly reflected (with some distortion, perhaps) the sky and buildings behind me.

I liked the image, so I took a shoot or two, including the one opening this post, and on I went.


On reviewing my photos from the day, last night, this one struck me more than others, and I would like to explain why I think that is.


As for many other things in life, photography (for me) comes down to a balance between two aspects, one technical and one creative. 

The first regulates what settings are used, why and how they are used, and how knowledge of the medium makes the shot a better one than it would be if just taken without thought, while the second aspect deals with what the photo communicates, the story it is able to tell and the connection it establishes with whoever is seeing it.

Generally speaking an interesting shot is one that is placed somewhere on the line between these two extremes, technically perfect or deep in significance (possibly having a little of both),  depending on what the photographer wants and what viewers like, but that is not always the case. Sometimes a photo comes to be in a space that is outside of this binary balance.


The photo above is not technically perfect by a long shot, and, while the reflection might be interesting, it does not have that "artsy" feel, nor does it immediately communicate any message or story.

It's just a reflection on a glass door, and as such should be relatively uninteresting, but it got me thinking, and that is why it's interesting to me.


It's not just any door, it's a door to a museum, a place where people go to look at beautiful or meaningful things and to see how artists chose to represent nature and life.

With this in mind, I find it very interesting that, in the photo, the whole museum becomes a frame to actual nature, reflected in its glass door. It's as if the whole building, so massive and static becomes a huge complex frame for that little rectangle of true, yet distorted, life that is on display on its surface, and it becomes even more interesting if I think about how right behind that distorted reflection are people admiring other distorted reflections, be they sculpted in stone or drawn on canvas.

I like it because the museum seems to be fully achieving its function both inside and out, both through the eyes of artists and through chance of nature, with both aspects being nothing more than distortions of life. 



This photo, in my opinion, falls a little off of the usual techincal-artistic line, because it needs to be explained in order to be understood, and that is why I like it, because it's not immediate, because it represents more than just its subject and because it made it necessary for me to write all of this stuff just in order to make me feel ok with showing it to you.


As usual, have a nice day!


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