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Top 5 – Photographers using reflection and portraits

  • Inspiration
  • 22/10/17

Images that have reflections as the subject matter could be considered somewhat regular. We have all seen the landscapes with the mirrored reflections but what about portraits?
Selecting the Top 5 Reflection and Portraits encouraged us to re-examine this technique and we have changed our minds.  We hope you become inspired too.


Saul Leiter was a man in no hurry. He had an amazing skill at creating superb photography and painting. His career began with no support from his parents. They were disappointed that he was entering the art route. He then left home. He was talented and made the right connections. He showed his paintings alongside Jackson Pollock and his photography alongside Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Unfortunately, he struggled and he did not reach fame till the 90’s. This struggle was possibly due to stubbornness or wanting to photograph only in his way, ignoring layouts for magazines and the things that were expected of him.  He is well known for his colour street images. Saul was inspired by painter/ photographers Edgar Degas and Pierre Bonnard.

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Paolo Roversi is an Italian fashion photographer. In this YouTube video, you can see Roversi is taking his fashion portraits through a mirror. The reflection. He is famous for using Polaroid film 8×10 cameras and he sought to buy as many rolls as possible before they became discontinued. He uses long exposures when taking portraits believing we get a deeper exchange in the eyes. He now has a different relationship to light compared to the beginning of his career and respects it in a different way.  He doesn’t plan his shoots but likes to work with chance. He might just turn on the studio lights and start photographing depending on how his assistants may have left them the day before.  He begins with one light- (his sun) and then continues to add more and more until he has what he wants.


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Jack Davison is a young contemporary photographer who was never formally trained but relied on Flickr to give him inspiration. He believes because he didn’t go to University to study photography, he is not constrained by their ideology. He sees himself as a documentary photographer looking for beauty and  for strange moments. He takes images in black and white but also experiments and he enjoys taking a portrait that has a deliberately blurred lens, in a reflection or a shadow. He might scratch the negative or rip the image after it is printed. He could also decide to photograph through a discarded piece of Perspex that he’d pick off the ground.

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In 1907, Blumenfeld took up photography. He was very innovative and used a mirror to be able to get frontal and side views of his portraits. Thirty years later, he took his best-known fashion photography with the model Lisa Fonssagrives at the Eiffel Tower. He was one of the most highly paid photographers of that time. His obsession was with beautiful women. He created ICONS. He used simple lines and a great sense of colour. He used to get the models or sitters to soften by just asking before taking the image, “Will you marry me?’. He was also interested in psychological portraits and would battle with his own identity through his self-portraits. These self-portraits are quite eerie.

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Craig Whitehead is a contemporary street photographer who has taken inspiration from Saul Leiter and Ernst Haas while using “the go-to” Instagram.  He trained as an illustrator and you can see the thread of textures running through his images.  He likes to find peculiar scenes and photograph in colour in the most tantalising of ways, leaving the viewer feeling intrigued, wanting more.  The cool thing is he doesn’t stick to a particular lens. Some days he is in close nearly knocking over people and others he has a wide angle on with distance but you can always recognise his images by the type of colour and the moment he catches.

Craig Whitehead