Mind-Bending Reflection Portraits Shot Using a Wet Plate Camera

Last week we issued a challenge asking readers to shoot a creative mirror self-portrait using an alternative style of photography. Reader Agustin Barrutia took us up on that challenge, and created a pair of wet plate photographs that take the concept of “mirror self-portrait” to a new level (they’re unlike anything we’ve seen before). Both photographs are straight-out-of-camera wet plate photos that weren’t manipulated digitally. Barrutia simply used “mirrors” (one doesn’t involve a mirror, per se) and “reflections” in clever ways.

The wet plate above is a self-portrait of Barrutia shooting the wet plate. That camera in the frame is the camera that captured the wet plate.

Here’s a wet-plate photograph of a woman holding a mirror. The reflection of the mirror inside that mirror shows a reflection of the camera that shot the wet plate.

You can click either of the two photographs above to see a larger version.

Can you figure out how these mind-bending photographs were captured? Leave a comment with your explanation! (We may update this post with diagrams later.)

Image credits: Photographs by Agustin Barrutia and used with permission

  • RvB

    “Per say.” Really?

  • jjeff

    Oh man the bottom one is pretty simple (the held mirror is not parallel to the framing, angled slightly towards another mirror, with everything lined up just so). But the top one is hard to discern..possibly because the edges are so indistinct.

  • Victor

    Why is this interesting?

  • Chris L.

    Top image looks to be a shot of a monitor to which a digital image is being transmitted.

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks for the catch :)

  • stanimir stoyanov

    I think “mind-bending” is an exaggeration.

  • SailTheTethys

    Two mirrors on both. The top photo has a mirror directly in front of the camera that is angled toward a second mirror that the photographer is looking into.
    The second image has a second mirror beside the camera that catches the reflection of the woman. This image is then reflected by the mirror in her hand. The mirror in her hand is precisely positioned both to reflect the mirror by the camera AND to actually reflect the camera in the mirrored shot.
    We used to do this kind of stuff in between customers at the old walk-in studio where I worked. And those of you who aren’t impressed aren’t looking closely; it’s a pretty cool effect, especially with a wet plate!

  • SailtheTethys

    Oh, and I think you can actually see the second mirror in the second one…it’s the dark rectangle in the right corner.

  • SailtheTethys

    My mistake, the first one uses another camera and a TV/monitor (Samsung to be exact) with a live feed. Camera facing the TV (you can see a glow of light in the photograph), photographer looking at the camera hooked up to it, which is off to the side.

  • Samcornwell

    Hey Augustin! Great stuff and nice pours too. The bottom picture looks like the lady is holding a glass plate of herself, holding another glass plate of herself. I think I’ve seen that somewhere before…

  • Anthony Harden

    This is interesting because wet plate photography is a piece of our collective photographic history, and is something that we ought not forget so easily. It also has value because a reader of this site chose to answer the call made by PetaPixel to attempt something different. The results are, therefore, interesting.

  • Victor

    Not everything in history is interesting. Not everything on PetaPixel is interesting. Not every comment is interesting. The results are, therefore, not interesting.

  • Anthony Harden

    That’s just silly.

  • sharpie

    It’s spelt “per sé” actually.

  • Sharpie

    Because this isn’t interesting to you do you think it shouldn’t be posted at all? That is effectively what you are saying. I find this really interesting as do a lot of others.

  • sharpie

    It spelled “who cares” actually.

  • Sharpie

    I’m sorry, on second thought, now that I’ve actually read the article, I agree with you VIctor. It is quite silly.

  • Sharpie

    Above comment isn’t from me. Some one having a laugh posing as me. Can’t petapixel distinguish between usernames?

  • Sharpie

    Another comment from someone posing as me.

  • Anthony Burokas

    Then why are you even here?
    Why bother to post?

  • kendon

    in the top one the mirrored SAMSUNG logo gives it away.