By: Louk Vreeswijk

Sep 08 2013


Category: Asia, Japan


I like reflections, and photos that contain reflections. Reflections invite to look more intently and provoke thought – see my earlier posts Floating Baobab and A stick in shallow water. It is probably no coincidence that the word reflection has these two meanings: mirroring or mirror image, and thought or thinking.

The reflection of the pavilion in the water is not the only reason the photo above is dear to me, but it definitely adds to it. The soft light at the end of the day; the beauty of the wooden pavilion; the harmonious colour scheme of the different elements in the composition – the trees, the water, the shadows – they all play a part. And indeed, so does the reflection in the water.

The water surface ripples lightly, which tells us there must have been a little bit of wind when I took the photo. Because of this the reflection of the pavilion is slightly transformed, which results not only in an intriguing mirror image, but it also gives the tranquil scene a breath of movement. Not too much, just right.

Remains the row of little boats on the right. White and blue of colour, they somehow strike a false note. A small flaw in an otherwise perfect composition. A reminder of the fact that we are looking at a picture, at a reflection of reality.

The photo below shows us another scene with a mirror image reflected in water. Here there is no wind and the water surface is as smooth as glass.

Luxeuil, France 1996

Luxeuil, France 1996

What attracts our attention is of course the fact that the house is deserted. A house at such a beautiful spot and deserted! What intrigues next is the reflection of the sky. It shows clouds, interestingly, with many more nuances and contrasts than the sky above. The water itself is actually not visible; we deduce its presence from the almost perfect reflection it creates. In this respect it is remarkably distinct from the photo of the pavilion. And I think it is partly because of this difference in the nature of reflection, that I prefer the pavilion picture.

Photo of the week: Pagoda pavilion in Ara-ike Pond, Nara, Japan 2008

2 comments on “Reflections”

  1. I also take many photos with reflections in water. I like your description of the two photos and how you see the first one and describe it almost as a painting. I prefer, actually, the abandoned house. It evokes something deep in me and I would love to be there.


    • The abandoned house plays a role in my short film “Memoria”. You’ll find another picture, taken inside the house, on the page MEMORIA under FILMOGRAPHY, top right of this blog.


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