Design Elements
When I was studying photography at Queensland College of Art, one of our core subjects was design. It was here that we studied design elements like the forms and textures you could employ to make striking images.
Combining two or more design elements like reflections and repetition is another way to make abstract images. When reflective surfaces face one another an effect similar to pointing two mirrors at one another can be created.
This could be as simple as having two reflective surfaces on buildings bounce off one another when the lighting was just right. The possibilities are almost endless. Another two elements designers call ‘emphasising colour’ and ‘slow rhythm’ come together to make this image work.
One recent project of mine using secondary reflections was to use a Claude mirror in the capturing of photographs (see the July 2010 issue of ProPhoto).
The images you can create using techniques like these won’t suit everyone or every subject, but it certainly can add a new dimension to your photography by thinking out of the square.
Reflections by transmission and secondary reflections can be an influential component in the creation of an image. When you start looking they appear everywhere.
So, the next time you are shooting an assignment and you find yourself with your back against the wall when trying to create new and interesting ideas to present to your client, keep the aesthetics of reflections in mind. They can really make for some thought-provoking images.

Andy Cross is an expert in image prepress and printing techniques, both traditional and digital. He runs Visual Impact Photography in Brisbane which specialises in fine-art photography and making exhibition quality prints. He can be contact via email at