Exploring Photography: Mirror Photography

Mirrors and illusions in any kind of art can sometimes feel like a cheap trick on the eye, but it seems many photographers have found techniques to make this art form feel like a dream.

To understand the power that illusions and mirrors can lend their craft to, we’ve explored the work of Indian sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor. Kapoor has won a number of prizes, most notably The Turner Prize in 2002 and the Unilever Commission for the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern. His internationally recognised public sculptures include Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millennium Park and Sky Mirror, which exhibited at the Rockefeller Center in New York City in 2006 and Kensington Gardens in London in 2010. See examples of Sir Anish Kapoor below.

Mirror Photography 2 | Exploring Photography | Anish Kapoor  Mirror Photography 3 | Exploring Photography | Anish Kapoor  Mirror Photography 4 | Exploring Photography | Anish Kapoor

This idea of using a mirror or creating a mirror sculpture as an art form is an idea that has caught the eye of artists for centuries. The shadowy appearance of Jan van Eyck’s self-portrait in the background of The Arnolfini Portrait of 1434 is a fascinating example. The artist secretly paints his own reflection and signed his name above the mirror, which makes a bold comment on his own skill, and on the art itself.

The Arnolfini Portrait of 1434 | Mirror Photography
In contrast, Kapoor’s Sky Mirror series, delivers its own statement. At Kensington Gardens, the mirror sculpture sat above the round pond and mimicked the reflection of water creating an infinite number of reflections. The theme of repetition was then reinforced by other mirror sculptures carefully positioned to reinforce a fitting metaphor by Kapoor, an illusion of endless impossible space.

The use of mirrors in photography can be discovered in many different places in nature and architecture, from a polished surface to a peaceful stream, photographers continue to experiment with the myriad possibilities in reflection that can be experienced in everyday life. You can learn more about reflection in our ‘Experimental Photos’ edition of our coveted Exploring Photography series.

Stunning Mirror Photography

Mirror-Photography Examples | Exploring Photography