The morning of our day on the Dingle Peninsula I left the room early, my Sony Alpha 700 in hand, while Pam finished her preparations. The elevator deposited me in the lobby and I proceeded to capture images of the Killarney Royal Hotel, our base for three nights.
This marvelous “antique” mirror caught my eye. We are used to seeing convex mirrors in the upper corners of elevators, strategically located at hallway junctions, automated teller machines and parking garages all with the intention of providing a wide, fisheye, view to detect unsavory, lurking types and danger.
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This spotless, framed convex mirror is from a older, saner time. Such objects came in use from the 1400’s (15th century). When all glass was blown, a convex surface was easier to produce than a flat and, since all glass was expensive to produce, a convex mirror was a popular luxury item, an expensively framed status symbol.
As the mirrors were an element of elite surroundings, art came to include them as objects in the midground, the surface reflecting back to the viewer a different viewpoint. An opportunity for an artist to demonstrate virtuosity. Examples are Jan van Eyck’s “Arnolfini Portrait” and the left wing of the Werl Triptych by Robert Campin.
Known as the “sorcerer’s eye” from the all encompassing view and, in keeping with our modern uses, even back then also called a”banker’s eye.” Symbolically, the 15th century paintings used a pristine mirror to represent the Immaculate Conception.
The five images here are the final result of trial and error, working out the details of using a flash in the relatively low light of the morning lobby, avoiding my reflection, maintaining a sharp focus throughout the field, capturing the unique details of the frame without distortion and the mirror’s wide angle view. I gave up on the flash and, instead, did this series at f5.6 and the ISO incremented 800 to 3,200. As such, the exposure ranged from 1/5 to 1/25 of a second. All shots were handheld.
I hope you enjoy the results. This was a promising start to our memorable day of exploration.