The craze for “selfies,” those ego-driven assumptions that anyone cares how one looks in the bathroom, has gotten out of control. However, there are times when the only way to get accurate settings for the camera is to take a picture in the mirror … or two or three.
Today’s photo is obviously shot in a bathroom, as seems to be requisite for most selfies. This is a unique space, though, with antique mirrors, the kind that are beginning to fade and showing signs of wear around the edges, occupying all the wall space that is not either window or shower curtain. Even the ceiling is mirrored, which makes for some interesting light reflections. Illumination for the room comes primarily from the two windows of rippled lead glass seen in the background. With light reflecting from so many different directions at once, any attempt at getting a light reading with a standard meter is almost futile; it is going to suggest different settings every two inches.
Under most natural light circumstances, I pretty much know what settings work best for my camera. Cameras have a sweet spot and once a photographer knows where that is, adjusting from that point is generally easy. That being said, though, mirrors of any kind throw most calculations out the window. I’m sure there is some mathematical formula that could deliver correct settings every time, but I never was that good at math anyway and at my age it isn’t that high a priority. So, the better option under these circumstances is to take a selfie. If shooting film, take a polaroid.
The pictures below are samples of the photos we ultimately took in this very unique little room. In some ways, looking back at them now, I almost prefer the black and white toning used in the behind the scenes shot, but when the whole concept of the shoot revolves around flowers and spring black and white seems to rather work against rather than toward the goal. Mirrors, especially those that are older and whose reflections are not even across the surface, make for one of the most challenging light sources one is likely to encounter. Every angle is going to present a very different shot.
Still, the point of the whole exercise this morning is that, despite the fact I rather loathe the frequency and misuse of selfies, there are times when they are helpful, and perhaps even necessary. And sometimes, when one’s face is fully covered and the subject is something other than one’s attire or makeup, it’s even okay to share these self-portraits. Just, for the record, know that I wasn’t the one who left the seat up.
Next week: Seven billboards you’ll (probably) never see. Join us!
Floral Arranging. Models: Sharon Nelson & Molly Murphy. Makeup: Danelle French. Hair: Megan McKinney. Styling: Tanvi Melanta. Photography assistant: Brian Logan.