Tag Archives: mirrors

Exercise 3.1

The brief:

Go through your photographic archive and select around ten pictures. Separate them into two piles: one entitled ‘mirrors’ and the other entitled ‘windows’.

  • What did you put in each pile and why?
  • Did you have any difficulties in categorising them?

You may like to repeat the exercise with some different images and record your responses. It would be interesting to see you place the same image in both camps and review your reasons for doing so.

In doing a quick scan through my photographic archive, it seems that I may have an equal amount of mirror and window images. This may possibly be because I take a fair amount of photos of student events and staff and faculty headshots at work, but I have always loved street photography and landscape/travel images as well.

Mirrors
Street portrait - Cuba - Lynda Kuit 2013
Street portrait – Cuba – Lynda Kuit 2013

Two happy, carefree youths in the streets of Havana, reflecting the attitude of the Cuban people.

Bo-Kaap Malay Quarter - Cape Town - Lynda Kuit 2016
Bo-Kaap Malay Quarter – Cape Town – Lynda Kuit 2016

Another blast from my past. An area on the outskirts of the city of Cape Town which has undergone major renovation, while remaining true to its character. The colourful houses reflect the personalities of the inhabitants.

Self-inflicted pain - Lynda Kuit 2015
Self-inflicted pain – Lynda Kuit 2015

This image is a true mirror of me during my recovery time after undergoing knee replacement surgery.

mirror-4
Model Shoot – Lynda Kuit 2011

The first time I ever did a model shoot during a photography class. Learning all about studio lighting here.

Spartan Race - Lynda Kuit 2011
Spartan Race – Lynda Kuit 2011

One of my assignments while doing a documentary course. I documented some of the action during the Spartan Race, a grueling obstacle race.

My old neighbourhood - Lynda Kuit 2016
My old neighbourhood – Lynda Kuit 2016

This image is a mirror for me as it is one of the neighbouring farms to the farm where I spent my teenage years. It represents many happy memories of hanging out with my friends at this old farmhouse. However, it can also serve as a windows image, being on the wine route of Stellenbosch and a place of enormous interest.

Windows
window-1_dsc0041
Book Sellers in the square, Havana – Lynda Kuit 2013

The square outside the Palacio de los Capitanes in Havana where revolutionary Cuban literature is the order of the day. One would be hard pressed to find a book that is not about Fidel Castro or Che Guevara.

window-2
José Rodriguez Fuster’s home, Havana – Lynda Kuit 2013

Cuban artist Jose Fuster’s home in Havana. His entire house is decorated with mosaic ceramic sculptures inspired by Picasso. He has decorated about 80 houses in his neighbourhood in a similar fashion. Video about him can be seen here.

Betty's Bay, South Africa - Lynda Kuit 2016
Betty’s Bay, South Africa – Lynda Kuit 2016

A window into the coastal town of Betty’s Bay, near Cape Town in South Africa. Mainly it is a fishing village, but also containing Stony Point Nature Reserve which is home to one of the largest breeding colonies of the African Penguin in the world.

Muizenberg Beach, Changing Huts, South Africa - Lynda Kuit 2016
Muizenberg Beach, Changing Huts, South Africa – Lynda Kuit 2016

Historical changing huts on Muizenberg Beach. These huts are featured on many advertising promos ranging from colour printers to tourism.

window-5
Occupy Vancouver protest – Lynda Kuit 2011

Some street photography during the Occupy Vancouver protests.

High tide and sunrise over Finn Slough.
High tide and sunrise over Finn Slough, Richmond, Vancouver – Lynda Kuit 2014.

Finn Slough, a heritage Finnish fishing settlement and wetlands society in Richmond, Vancouver. An extremely interesting place where the inhabitants are subject to the tides. At low tide they are surrounded by mud, at high tide they are surrounded by water.

window-7
Table Mountain at sunset, Cape Town – Lynda Kuit 2016

Another window image which could also be a mirror for me. At one time in my childhood I used to live close to this spot and would see this view very often.

I didn’t have much difficulty in placing my images in the two categories. Granted I can see that I can have quite a bit of cross-over between the two. It all depends from where one is seeing the photograph and how much memory is attached to the image.

Reference List

Visual Arts (n.d.) José Fuster Painter – Sculptor [online] Havana Cultura. Available at: http://havana-cultura.com/en/visual-arts/jose-fuster [Accessed 22 November, 2016]

Mirrors and Windows – MOMA Press Release

Our course manual features an extract of the Museum of Modern Art’s press release prior to the opening of the Mirrors and Windows American Photography since 1960 exhibition.

I managed to download the entire press release and have made some brief notes about it.

  • The director of this exhibition was John Szarkowski, head of the Department of Photography at MOMA.
  • The exhibition examines the changes in the way photographers had begun to work and “proposes a new critical framework for the appreciation of contemporary photography.”
  • Photographers whose works were featured were: Diane Arbus, Paul Caponigro, Mark Cohen, Judy Dater, Bruce Davidson, William Eggleston, Elliot Erwitt, Lee Friedlander, Ernst Haas, Robert Heinecken, Les Krims, Ray Metzker, Joel Meyerowitz, Tod Papageorge, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Stephen Shore, George Tice, Jerry Uelsmann and Garry Winogrand.
  • The dominant motif was a “movement from public to private concerns.” Photographers post 1960 tended to pursue a more personal line of photography.
  • Metaphorically speaking the “mirror is a romantic expression of the photographer’s sensibility as it projects itself on the things and sights of this world” while a window is a photograph “through which the exterior world is explored in all its presence and reality.”
  • The 1950s marked photography’s turning point for concerns regarding social, economic and technological issues. The production of photo magazines such as Life also declined.
  • Two major influences that helped realign photography were the creation of Minor White’s Aperture magazine (the mirror) and Robert Frank’s book, The Americans (the window).
  • Leading photographers practicing the “mirror” approach were Paul Caponigro, Jerry Uelsmann, Robert Heinecken, Robert Rauschenberg.
  • Leading photographers practicing the “window” approach were Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus, Ray Metzker, Ed Ruscha, William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz and Stephen Shore.
  • “The mirrors-and-windows dichotomy is not a hard and fast one … it is not intended as a method of dividing recent photography into two discrete and unrelated bodies”.
Reference List

Press Release (1978). Mirrors and Windows American Photography since 1960 [online]. Available at: https://www.moma.org/momaorg/shared/pdfs/docs/press_archives/5624/releases/MOMA_1978_0060_56.pdf?2010 [Accessed 21 November, 2016]