Reactor

Mirrored Landscapes, Mirrored People

by An Xiao on June 4, 2012

(all images courtesy the artist and reproduce with permission)

LOS ANGELES — When I travel, I like to say that I’m visiting parallel worlds, worlds that exist alongside and reflect my daily reality. But I never thought that the worlds could literally be a reflection.

A recent post on PetaPixel turned me on the work of Gustav Willeit, a landscape photographer who’s added his own twist. After capturing gorgeous landscapes, he mirrors them, creating symmetrical elements like mountains and boulders that seem eerily balanced. To offset the effect, he adds a few asymmetrical elements, like people and animals, that add that little extra bit of mystery that makes you wonder if the place is real or not.

There’s a mirror trend here, as I also noticed these fascinating images by Wendelin Spiess of models split and mirrored down the middle. Studies of beauty have noted the importance of symmetry, and indeed, these models’ faces are literally symmetrical. The distinction is obvious when you look carefully, but with a cursory glance, it could be easy to miss it entirely.

These works get me thinking about mirrors and reflections, the way we often see our realities mediated through reflections, whether that be a rearview mirror or a storefront window. Sometimes, manufacturing symmetry can be a powerful to see our environments — and the people around us — anew. As Willeit wrote in an email to me:

“The landscapes have to posses a sense of mystery and be suggestive in [the] first place. “

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