While visiting Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2011, I became consciously aware of the incredibly beautiful abstract patterns reflected in the windows of the Downtown. As I began to photograph these images, I found myself composing what appeared to be paintings. My initial awareness turned into an excitement and a passion for exploring more opportunities to capture this abstract art.

I began to think through the way metal and glass, like structure and openness, represent the tension between elements in modern architecture. While the metal framework demands conformity, the glass reflections seem to explode, almost in defiance of this structure and, in the end, seem to transcend their captors.

The bars in my images can represent confinement/prison or, in a grid, can represent organization, a way to comprehend information in small, digestible bits. For me, the latter is most true. Only when there are boundaries, some semblance of control, can I allow myself to dream, to experiment, to escape. The abstract patterns, shapes and colors in my photographs represent the part of me that is open, spontaneous and creative. The grids formed by the architectural structure are like a container with recognizable borders that both ground me and give me a sense of freedom to express myself.

We can try to look directly at the world and never truly see it. Reality, without intention, is inevitably distorted through the lens of our personal histories. It is like light on a window, deforming the objects it is reflecting. Although never fully, objectively real, there are elements of reality most of us could agree on and that is why fragments of objects (a fluorescent light shining in a window, a car parked on a rooftop garage, or a rivet driven into steel) remain in these images as illustrations of how we see what’s in front of us.

The City Reflections Project, through its imagery of colors, shapes and patterns, represents the way we place discordant pieces of our lives in proximity to each other, deconstruct the whole of an experience, embellish, elaborate and abstract the simple, plain and ordinary truth that is life.

—Andrea Stone