Mirrors & Optics : Ways of Seeing

Experimenting with different cameras to capture a photograph, I was always surprised by the results: how did I do that? I realized I was always looking for the contrast of light and shadows to give energy to the photograph. What magic does this lens hold?

Having recently read David Hockney’s book, "Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters," I decided to explore these questions by putting subjects into the same settings as the masters of old and bring this into the present. Hockney talks about Van Eyke’s use of lenses and mirrors as the artist’s “magic stuff” and how this would have been considered sorcery in his day. Today we have our sorcery of technology, but always, it is the artist who makes the image. In two thousand and three, Photoshop is simply the latest advance in a long evolution of optical tools.

In each of these photographs you will see references to different artists and their use of light. My photographs range in reference from the fifteenth century to the present day. As Hockney shows us, artists have used lenses for four hundred years to create their optical illusions. Like Alice through the looking glass, I use the technology of photography to give the pleasure of the past, and a lens into the present. This was my challenge.