Reflection: A View from the Bridge

Severn Bridge in Wing Mirror
This unusual view of the Severn Crossing, taken by my daughter, Emily Knight of Bristol Bites, has an immediate visual impact for a number of different reasons, most notably for its composition.

The picture, taken on an iPhone6, is dominated by the car wing mirror but, curiously, this feature quickly becomes invisible. The eye is drawn to the reflection of the towers of the bridge by the still bright but tired, setting sun. It is clearly evening – we know this without being told, in the same way that we can readily distinguish Monet’s morning and evening paintings of Rouen Cathedral.

There is a pleasing balance of straight lines and curves, including curves we know are straight lines.

Aside from black, white and grey, the only colours are pale yellow, green and blue, all of a similar tonal value.

Because the primary view is directly behind the vehicle, the depth of focus removes movement from the central reflection, almost making the car appear stationary. It is the slight blurring of the road and railings to the side that indicate movement. It is possibly a little fanciful to state that the clouds, too, suggest motion.

Oddly, for the M4 motorway at a weekend, there appears to be no traffic, until you see the pair of headlights in the distance, providing a slightly sinister atmosphere. Is the car being followed? By whom and why? Who are the occupants of the car whose view we are seeing? There are at least two, the driver and the photographer. Where have they been? Where are they going?