Light beyond the surface this way comes (Part two: the photolog)

Imagine yourself in a desert between endless sand and sun and you’re sure to find shadows forging curvaceous dunes. Shadows that girdle the shifting sands and cleave the dunes’ ever evolving flanks. Now imagine yourself in a city instead. Glass and metal building facades shoo shadows down the sidewalks while they dance with the glory of light’s reflections, playing with the glint of its rays.

What follows is a reflective photo series. A photolog, so to speak. These shots were all taken in the last two years in different cities and various surfaces yielded diverse reflections. Here are reflections off mirrored surfaces first.

Tea room table in NYC offers a glimpse of ornate wall behind.

Sometimes the mirrored image is small like that of the golden leaf in this golden foot of a grand door in Paris, France.

Double mirrors reflect double images captured by an iPhone in the famed lounge of the Hilton Hotel on rue de Courcelles, Paris, France.

Are actual mirrors deemed too facile? There’s always sunlit glass to consider. Glass serves a dual purpose: it reflects what’s outside while drawing one within and crafts an intimacy, surprising in its reach particularly in big cities. This layering offers an invitation to delve in –  emotionally or intellectually – and enriches the scene with one’s own personal depth.

Next up are some glass reflected images. They represent the majority of the photographs presented here and were photographed in four cities: Lisbon, New York, San Francisco, and the city of light itself, Paris.

Window to the sky at the Berardo Museum of Modern Art in Lisbon, Portugal.

Window to the street from  Restaurante Solar dos Presuntos (Portuguese dry cured ham) in Lisbon, Portugal.

Come hang your hat on a skyscraper near Times Square in NYC.

Relatively classical building facades striking a harmonious pose with those of MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in NYC.

Two buildings lining Market Street get intimate in San Francisco, CA.

Wall sconce and desk lamp try and steal the scene from the illuminated Coit Tower in San Francisco, CA.

Out and through the window of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, CA.

Sometimes it’s the juxtaposition of a touch of old with a lot of new that’s most surprising in an inner courtyard in Paris, France.

A stolid facade fired up with a shop’s lights in Paris, France.

Buildings through an upside down grove of bamboo in Paris, France.

Come, I’ll take you to the other bank of the Seine, in Paris, France.

Artfully arranged objets that could’ve come from the home across the street in Paris, France.

Dolls and (stuffed) dog reminiscing of their house in Paris, France. This trio projects so much uneasiness that they should be characters in an Arthur Conan Doyle story. And that would be a tale of two countries…

Color confluences inviting a pause-cafe in Paris, France.

Never judge a building by its robes in Paris, France

Anthropomorphize at will in Paris, France.

Impression of a corner with a color palette to enliven any grey day in Paris, France.

Crowning mirrors and glass, finally there’s water. Of all reflecting surfaces the most whimsical, wont to be perturbed with the slightest of breaths, yet generous with twinkle and quivering scintilla, water mesmerizes with its ability to replicate and enhance.

So much serenity in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, within/out the reflecting moat near the Mark Taper Forum. Notice that the reflected part is the top half of the photo.

That same moat rippled by a hint of a breeze in Los Angeles, CA.

Partial view of Jim Dine’s Looking Toward the Avenue, the gargantuan green pastiches of Venus de Milo,  on the corner of West 52nd Street and Avenue of the Americas. The pool that encircles them offers its own take on midtown NYC.

A rain puddle has left the sidewalk to take off for the sky in NYC.

Possibly my all-time favorite shot: Rain puddle unmistakably in Paris, France.

And when you think of water, you can’t but think of the master – the one who designed and created his own water garden, replete with water lilies, which he then immortalized in numerous paintings – a founder of French Impressionist painting and its most prolific practitioner, Claude Monet.  His house in Giverny, France, not only boasts quite possibly the most cheerful dining room done in bright shades of yellow, but beautiful gardens with seasonally blooming plants and the famous pond.

Newlyweds vow eternal love amid the willows on the green bridge in Giverny, France.

Monet’s water garden in Giverny, France.

What better image to end this series with than the Giverny water garden? With lily pads punctuating its surface it invites various trees to cast their reflections, but it’s the sky, the sky that paints its surface alive. Even when smooth and still, water adds its own supple, liquid viscidity to the reflected sky. It makes me wonder sometimes: when I seek to see water, could it be the sky I’m looking for?


2 thoughts on “Light beyond the surface this way comes (Part two: the photolog)

  1. re:Photo #2, Golden Leaf reflection – I love the whole composition of how the leaf in the reflection is held down by the two rivets, while the “real” one is not – especially when I think about how dry golden leaves have the tendency to seem lighter than air and float freely. It also seems to be trying to slide under the door, yet it is being held in place.
    They are all very nice photos, but this one in particular *captured* me 😉

  2. Thanks, Zov, for pointing out your favorite, as well as the two rivets. Truly enjoyed reading your story of that photo. Your perspective certainly deepened mine too.

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