Friday, February 27, 2009

Mirror Image

Welcome To Back-To-Front Alley

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


This shot was taken on a humid afternoon in Singapore, just over a year ago. I was in the vicinity of Mosque Street, keeping my eyes peeled for unusual sights to photograph. I have a theory that what I call the "camera-brain'' in each human is another sense in addition to sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

It's just that some of us never flip the switch to activate the "camera-brain''. This phrase simply refers to the ability to look at something differently when you have a camera in your hand, to recognise that something small or inconsequential can produce a striking image.

That afternoon in Singapore, as I crossed a narrow lane, I saw a weather-beaten motorcycle parked opposite me. In front of the motorcycle was a dun-coloured wall. I had no reason to walk across, but I did. That's when I saw that the dusty rear-view mirror on the right handlebar was reflecting a street view from behind me.

Like any mirror image, it was laterally inverted, or reversed. But because the dun-coloured wall is the only background, it's a perfectly static anchor for the image. I think the eye is drawn to this image because it looks as if something is wrong - and then the brain works out that it's not ``wrong'', just unusual.

If you have time, let me know what you think of this shot. And don't forget to switch on your camera-brain. It's easy. Trust me.

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

19 comments:

Muthering Heights said...

Very clever!

Sandi McBride said...

I enlarged it to get a clearer view and the fact that it was a handlebar jumped out at me at once. You are a clever boots, David!
Sandi

Willow said...

I really like this photo because unusual shots like this one interest me. I also like your idea of the camera brain. When you are carrying your camera you look at the world differently, through your mind's lens and constantly think about the composition of images around you.

Robynn's Ravings said...

My first thought was, "What a colorful golf club, how whimsical!" Then I read the post and my conclusion seemed preposterous, having never seen a golf club of similar sort. But I like things to impress upon me instant conclusions only to be proven wrong. It tells me I can be easily fooled and keeps me slightly off-balance, and therefore my perspective stays receptive to serendipity.

Camera brain. I like that. It's like writer's brain. You see and hear things from so many angles. Do you find, though, that it keeps you from enjoying the whole picture? I sometimes can't stop writing what's happening in my head so I see it all reconstructed even as it's taking place. I can't decide if that makes me take in in more fully or diminishes it...hmmmm.

James Antonio Mittelnsteiger said...

you have great pictures on your page i really like them...

Mojo said...

What I find striking is that the reflection is the only thing in focus. There's no doubt about what the subject is here, the rest is framing. Very nice framing, understand, but not distracting. This is exactly the kind of shot I look for when my "camera brain's" turned on.

I think "camera brain" doesn't necessarily require having a camera at hand. I frequently find myself seeing images as I would through the lens whether my camera is around my neck or at home in the bag. If it were practical to do it, I'd have mine with me every waking hour, but for now at least that's regrettably not the case.

Supercool Hotmama said...

I really like that the image in the mirror is in focus, yet the mirror is not. Very cool!

Paula Scott said...

I love that camera brain phrase! Can I use that quote with credit to you? And the whole incident and memory of it so well articulated. How do you do that?
Nothing but smart as my 2D teacher would say. Nothing but smart...

Hilary said...

Great shot. I was just thinking how you could do a full series of "camera brain" photos but then it struck me that that's a huge chunk of your blog anyway. :)

Paula Scott said...

Yes, you did answer at the right blog! Some of the other blogs are group blogs that I administrate. Mostly static. My email is on the top of the blog you responded too.
Here it is: pmondoy@gmail.com
Thanks, David!

Jen said...

Wow - I think the most amazing thing, and the bit that makes it look so different - is that the image in the mirror is sharp whilst the rest is soft. It really threw me for a while, I couldnt for the life of me work out what it was....

Certainly good to stretch the grey matter like that sometimes!!

Keep up the good work

Muppet Soul said...

I'm not sure if I have 'camera brain'. But I'm sure as hell trying! lol

You're a photographer with an eye for detail.

LisAway said...

What a shot! I couldn't figure out what it was either until I read your description.

That is an excellent photo.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

I like the Camera Brain explanation. It's great when you can articulate these things and help other people tune into them. I beleive we have many senses that we don't tune in to, our education system takes care of that!

jinksy said...

It's not my camera brain that is missing - more my camera!

B.E.Johnson said...

Never thought much about my camera-brain, other than it's a good one. I've shot for years and know the feeling well when it switches on. A certain exhilaration comes that is unmatched; only surpassed in the negative (not to make a pun) when it switches on and I've no camera at the moment. Total Bummer.

Janet said...

Like Robynn, at first glance I too immediately thought golf club. Very interesting shot!

mikimbizi said...

Thanks for dropping in on my little blog :D
Been reading your blog the whole morning... I think I'm hooked to it. And lovely photographs too.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

You hit it right on the head with your "wrong" description.... fantastic shot!