The Droste Effect

Droste Cacti


During lockdown last year I started reading and creating new photographic techniques. One of them was the ‘Droste’ effect. I hope you like the few that I have created here.

What is the Droste effect?

Ferns – SJ Butler Photography

The Droste effect describes a specific type of recursive picture in which a smaller version of the larger image is featured within the larger image. Another term for this surreal photography effect is mise en abyme, which refers to the practice of inserting a replica of an image within itself. This creates a repetition that could continue forever, as the smaller version of the picture would contain an even smaller replica and so on.

Hydrangea – SJ Butler Photography

Artist & photographer Josh Sommers is an expert on the Droste effect. “A real-world example would be if you held two mirrors up to each other,” he explains. “You’d look into the mirror and see an infinite tunnel of reflections of the two mirrors going back and forth. That’s somewhat of a Droste effect.”

Crocus – SJ Butler Photography
Daisies – SJ Butler Photography
Forget me knot – Butler Photography

New to the site? Start here

A few of you have been asking how to create these, I have added the link here
(just for your info) I do not accept liability for this website and it is downloaded at you own risk.

New 2022 Cyanotypes

It was such a lovely sunny day that I created by first Cyanotype of 2022. Using ivy, ferns and dried seed heads I created one fern image (which is drying at the moment) and a few (experimental) circular ones as well. Using my camera I created a time lapse video of the process. The whole […]

Boxing Day

Well I hoped you all survived Christmas?Let me know how you spent it and what was your best & worst present? This image popped up on my timeline the other day so I thought I would share it on here. I created this with several of my photographs layered over each other. They can be […]


How come worries are multiplied many times when you are trying to get to sleep? I couldn’t sleep last night as I was worrying about work which had to close due to rising number of Covid cases. I had to be in to support vulnerable & key worker students, like in January 2021. Just as […]

10 thoughts on “The Droste Effect

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