Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Two-way Mirror Project

The initial test shoot with the two-way mirror rewarded me with little, but taught me a great deal. The most significant lesson learnt was that it's all about the light, of course!

A two-way mirror is essentially a normal piece of see-through glass or acrylic, but with a sort of 'semi-coating' of reflective foil (a normal mirror has a full, light-impenetrable coating), which means that it has the ability to allow light to pass through, as well as reflect it. The function of a two-way mirror is dependant on the ambient light on either side of it. The side intended to behave as a mirror needs a lot of ambient light, so that it bounces back an image, and the see-through side needs to be dark, so that the image will pass through. Another explanation is provided by the very helpful people at mirrorworld.co.uk (where I purchased mine from):

In reality this means that the two sides must be isolated from one another and the difference in light needs to be dramatic. In fact, if I wish to produce pictures which will appear as straight portraits, then the 'window side' needs to completely dark so that the camera doesn't see itself in a partial reflection.
My solution to this - bin bags. And clothes pegs.

This way the camera sits in a completely unlit environment, and as far as it is concerned the mirror is effectively a window. Meanwhile the subject (me) is well illuminated by the studio lights, and experiences only a mirror. And what does this particular subject do when he encounters a mirror...

1 comment:

  1. Say Ahhhh!

    Fascinating project.
    Can't wait to see the exhibition.