Issue 185, Summer 2008
“In the city, our reflected selves are never far away,” Vijay Balakrishnan says. “They are with us wherever we go. Refracted through shop windows and revolving doors, curled into mirrors and shiny bumpers, our light doubles expand and contract, multiply, divide, and dissolve countless times, jumping from surface to surface.” It’s true: look at the city and there you are; look at your reflection and there is the city. The two are inextricable, and as Balakrishnan began photographing his elongated cityscapes on daily walks around New York a few years ago, this melding became his subject. It delighted and fascinated him, too, that with the slightest change of setting or focus, the interplay of reflectors and reflections seemed to be drawn from a different epoch of art history. HEre were the classical and the futurist, the impressionist and the Ashcan realist moments, all one step or one flash of the eye apart. And always there was his “light double,” marking the mood—ecstatic or melancholy, blissfully solitary or lonesome, upside down or twisted or all ablur, and sometimes the sharpest-looking thing in town: seeing and seen in the middle of the scene.