I’ve been experimenting with the idea of vortography after looking at some vortographs by Alvin Langdon Coburn. After my second tutorial I was thinking about the way to represent the fracturing of the UK that has occurred in the wake of the Brexit vote. First I cut up an image. Then I thought about shooting a reflection captured in a broken mirror or using a cheap lens filter that I could crack to shoot through. They’re all ideas I might try eventually, but vortography really appeals to me because the way the planes in the image are fractured and broken up seem to reflect more accurately the message I am trying to convey. I think there’s something about breaking the strength of lines in an image.
At first I couldn’t work out how the arrangement of mirrors was supposed to work, but eventually I realised that they’d be like a kaleidoscope. I wanted to try it out, so I lined a Toblerone packet with tin foil to have a look at the reflections to see if I was on the right track (see the results here). Then I brought a few cheap compact mirrors in Boots and taped them together. The first thing I did was to place them over an instant image I’d just taken of St Paul’s Cathedral.
I also had a few attempts at shooting through them. So I know some problems now – you can’t zoom in using a the mirrors in front of the lens. But, perhaps the solution is to take an image, print it and then take a photo using the mirrors on a printed image.
Anyway, I got some mirrors cut – four 2″ by 6″ mirrors (one spare as I’m only using 3). So it’s basically a kaleidoscope.
I really like using the edges of mirrors stacked on top of each other too.
I’m not sure whether it will work in terms of the assignment, I think it’s so random I’ll just have to try it. But I really like some of the results I’ve had from just playing with the technique.