Reflecting on Reflections

Shooting photos at a day-long event for authors is often both a very tiring and boring assignment, despite the fact that the authors themselves and what they have to say is very interesting.

Basically I am there to get images that record the day in a way that people who visit the event’s web page will find interesting, which is not really challenging.

On this occasion it was Parataxe, a symposium for South American writers in Berlin. The event, which started at 10 in the morning, closed twelve hour later and no matter how interesting the conversations of the panelists are, my field of interest is always the large table on the stage that has the current four to five authors.

You can shoot the stage and panelists from every angle in the room, but after the first hour or 2nd group you really are just repeating yourself.

To make things more interesting (mainly for myself) on this occasion, I moved outside the main room and began taking photos of the authors on stage through the glass panels of the entrance doors.

I was attracted by the way the glass was reflecting the people moving around outside the room, which I thought could add an extra almost surreal dimension to the picture.

This is not a new or original technique.

Quite the opposite.

If I remember correctly a similar technique was all the rage in the 1950’s, but here’s the rub. Now that it’s 2017 most people looking at the picture think they have been manipulated in Photoshop. I was disconcerted by this at first, but after some consideration felt a little flattered that people thought I could be creative enough to find two opposing images which went so well together and that I was skillful enough to seamlessly blend them.

In fact, all that has been done to this image is a little added contrast after it was converted to B&W.


70-200mm, F4.5, 1/40sec, ISO 1000


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