Douglas G. Stinson | Curves of Tangent Rays

A caustic is a surface to which each light ray is tangent. It defines a boundary of an envelope of rays and is revealed as a curve of concentrated light. The most famous example of a caustic is the rainbow. Seemingly, the mere concentration of light is beautiful.

These photographs combine a formal portrait of an object with its "alter ego": the pattern formed by light passing through the object. The image of the object by reflected light and the caustic pattern of transmitted light are two equivalent representation of the object. Which one is its true nature?

“What can one say about the role of light? It reminds me of a line by a poet ‘How can you tell between the dancer and the dance’."
--Abelardo Morrell
Light LoopsMetropolisArt DecoHyperbolic Martini GlassScientifics 7Scientifics12Scientifics 6Scientifics 2Round Bottom Flask CausticsOil and Wine Glass