Nikki Harcey » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 072015

“Fragmented” photo copyright Nikki Harcey

I took this image for a class assignment with the topic of reflection. I knew I did not want to take a simple photo of an object reflected in a mirror; I wanted something a bit more interesting with a meaning. I had a lot of fun working on this project, from selecting a mirror in the store, to bringing it home, smashing it and hoping I would like the pattern left behind by the cracks, to actually taking the photograph.

When I first started shooting for this assignment, I was not aware of the level of difficulty behind shooting through a mirror. Problems I ran into right away were getting the right angle without putting myself in frame and focusing perfectly in the right areas. After about 10 minutes of shooting, I came to the conclusion that my original vision of shooting the model in focus would not work at this moment in time. I then gathered my thoughts and tried something different, focusing on the cracks. And to my surprise, I liked the looks of those images much more than the ones before.

One of my favorite things about this photograph is that I know what it means to me but the interpretation of it can change from each individual who views it.  To me this image represents the different aspects of a personality. A person may act differently when in the presence of specific company or when told to act a certain way by society. I intended the focus to be on the cracks of the mirror rather than the person to add another layer of meaning along with creating visual interest. When we first look at someone, we see them as a whole, not their various experiences and quirks that make them who they are. The mirror itself represents that first glance, and the cracks represent the fragments that make up the individual.

I used a Canon 60D with my 50mm f/1.4 lens. With my focal length at 50mm and shutter speed at 1/125, I kept the aperture fairly wide at f/4.5 to allow for the correct amount of blur I was going for behind the cracks. I set the ISO to 500 to finish setting up the proper exposure. When I was post-processing, I upped the clarity to sharpen the cracks a bit more. I also brought the image into Photoshop and used the spot healing brush to clean up any distracting cracks or pieces of dust.

About the Photographer:
My name is Nikki Harcey. I am currently a sophomore at Northern Arizona University studying visual communications and photography. Art has always been an interest of mine and after many years of drawing and painting, I was craving a new form of art to bring into my life. I took my first photography class my freshman year of high school and knew instantly that I had found what I was craving. Over the course of these past six years, I have participated in contests, photographed a wedding, special events, and senior portraits. Through these experiences, I have found that I am extremely passionate about portrait photography. I love the possibility of the stories that be told through human expressions.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section below – the student would love to hear from you!