Through the Looking Glass

Since 2015, I’ve been photographing highly abstracted images created by natural light passing through warped glass (using the same small glass object for this purpose). The refracted and reflected light patterns are what physicists call caustic optics. I call them “reveals.”

It’s a simple process of intercepting light—in effect, reality—in an ordinary setting with no set subject, but it yields an extraordinary range of imagery. Forms (human? animal? vegetable?) appear in ambiguous settings. Bits of botanical (or is it cosmic?) material float above dark spaces. Impressionistic landscapes (or is that the microscopic cross-section of a leaf?) stretch across the picture plane. Reality clearly has many dimensions. And perception is clearly not reality (even sugar looks like salt).

The more I explore with this project, the more I see a parallel: how curved glass alters the path of light is similar to how people’s knowledge, biases and life experiences alter what they see, hear and read.

The Study    •    The Short Story    •    The Novella