About these Pictures:
They are pictures of reflections on store windows, mirrors, and the windows and panels of automobiles. Ordinarily our brains screen out irrelevant background, but the camera takes it all in. It shows us the city hidden in plain view. Each picture is taken in one snap. They are not products of computer or darkroom manipulation. They are found, not made.
In these photos objects and reflections -- mannequins, buildings, cars, streets, people, trees, clouds and sky –are merged into one image. The boundaries between inside and outside, real and unreal have disappeared. This is a world seen for an instant on windowpanes, and then only in photos. You may think of them as surreal images of real places, or as realistic photos of imagined environments.
The photos bring back my boyhood fascination with New York. As a teenager growing up in Brooklyn, I walked everywhere finding a city of pleasures, drama and excitement, but also an underside of deception and danger.
Big cities still fascinate me. In the 70’s I took classes with Oliver Gagliani, endlessly shooting street scenes and city spaces. I developed and printed my own black and white photos. Richard Estes, the photo-realist painter, had a great impact on me. In his urban landscapes I found powerful colors, the hard edge of cityscapes, but also things seen through their reflections, and combined in unreal and surreal ways.
I got the first of my reflection photos by chance. I took a picture of a store window, and unexpectedly, I had everything I liked at once. I was fascinated by the artifice of the mannequins, which invoke femininity despite their artificiality. And also people, cars, street-lights, and even palm trees --images of the solid world, mediated by reflections, that may seem less real than the mannequins. All this comes together in the paradox of realistic photographs of imagined environments, a world made up of objects and reflections, a world seen only on windowpanes.
I hope you will see a little more of the hidden city on your next stroll.
These photos are taken in New York, London, Paris, Venice, Rome, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami Beach, and other cities.
Ira M. Lapidus is a fine art photographer whose work has been exhibited, published and collected by art lovers.
He has been exhibited at the A.C.C.I. Gallery in Berkeley, CA, and the Club at the Claremont in Oakland, CA, and at the Fetterly Gallery in Vallejo, CA. His work has been published in Photo Metro, Women's Studies, Fiction International, and the San Francisco Chronicle. His photos are held in numerous private collections.