Reflections Upon a Lake

Jun 6, 2019  By Albert Knapp MD & Ruth Oratz MD

Reflections are ever present in our daily lives – in our morning mirrors, the large plate glass panes of urban buildings, on the shiny metal surfaces of our automobiles. When we glimpse reflections, we see our world bounced back, yet transformed, upside down, reversed in polarity, distorted in dimension. These challenge us to consider alternate ways of seeing, viewing other aspects of the familiar and stimulating interior monologue.

Water is nature’s finest reflective surface. On our property in Southern Connecticut a small lake beckons, seemingly hidden behind a large stand of white pines and mature maples, poplars and birch.

From a distance the slightest glimpse of the water’s surface shimmers – cool grey in the winter months, a deep dark verdant hue in the summer. Spring brings the fresh tender greens of budding new life and autumn the jewel tones of that world falling away.

As the season turned, temperatures dropped and daylight waned, I found new patterns and tones on the icy plane. Wintry white clouds, granular frost and broken twigs frozen in place revealed another aspect of our relation to the natural world and brought me deeper into the project. As the year progressed I continued photographing reflections in the lake, finding that the solid trunks of the trees ringing the shore and a bright red bench in one corner became anchoring structures.

The ever-changing colors of the foliage transmuted the lake from grey to green to violet to russet. The motion of wind, stillness of heavy summer air, the patterns of clouds or slanting rays of late afternoon light provided texture to my watery canvas.

My kit included a Leica M-P (Typ 240) digital camera with either a 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2 ASPH or a 90mm APO-Summicron-M f/2 ASPH lens.

I quickly realized the amazing beauty, unpredictably, mutability and variability of the reflections. It is truly a collaboration of light and dark, water and land, clouds and forest. The resultant variations defy probability and made each photographic visit unique.

My photographic journey followed an organizational theme beginning with impressionistic studies and culminating in wildly abstract representations. My efforts emphasize line, pattern, texture and color, in the interpretation of natural forms. My challenge was to distill, reduce and focus these awe-inspiring and evanescent gifts of nature into emotive and interesting photographs. In this I was heavily influenced by a congeries of artists including Monet, Cezanne, Kandinsky, Lhotte, Miro, Rothko, Pollock and Twombly.

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