12th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Second Place, Peninsula People


"Through the Looking Glass: a self-portrait"
By Steven Shpall

About Steven Shpall

Glass blocks decorate a portion of photographer Steven Shpall's Palo Alto home. When a viewer peers through the translucent blocks, objects on the other side become warped and askew. Shpall took advantage of the unusual translation to photograph himself through the glass.

Click on photo for larger image.

"I had noticed through the bricks you get an interesting distortion," Shpall said. "I thought it would make a good picture."

Shpall's photographic theory paid off, the resulting image, "Through the Looking Glass: a self-portrait," earned him second place in the Peninsula People category of this year's photo contest. Shpall also received a third-place prize in the Peninsula Images category for his piece entitled "The One That Got Away" and an honorable mention in the Manipulated Images category for the unusual "Zeke Pin."

He spent his youth in Denver, Colo., and studied photography in high school. Although he eventually went on to receive academic degrees in medicine, becoming a dermatologist, he never quite lost the lust for photography and elected to reacquaint himself with his long dormant hobby a year ago.
He and his wife, Kay, moved to Palo Alto in 1983, when their oldest child, Alexa, was only a year old. They also have a 16-year-old son, Zeke, whose facial expressions became the model for Shpall's "Zeke Pin" photograph.
Shpall admits that pursuing photography for financial gain has never appealed to him.

"Selling pictures gets to be a whole different level of activity," Shpall said. "I'm not really interested in getting into that. I'm just doing it for fun."

-- Tyler Hanley

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