"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" The answer -- in this case, the answers -- to that question is given on the following pages, the winners in The Washington Post Magazine's Fourth Annual Photography Contest.

The question itself is especially appropriate since the theme of this year's contest, the first to be limited to a particular type of image, was "mirror images," and only photographs of reflected images were considered eligible. Contestants could -- and did -- use any kind of reflective surface -- a mirror, an automobile fender, a hubcap, a store-front glass wall, a puddle. Most popular, of course, was the miror, although certain Washington landmarks showed up again and again -- the Reflecting Pool, for instance, and the mirrored outer wall of an office building at 1900 M St. NW designed by Washington architect Vlastimil Koubek.

as in the past, those who selected the winners are distinguished photographers themselve as well as experienced judges of the art. W. E. (Bill) Garrett was recently named editor of National Geographic, having served as associate editor/illustrations for that publication, a position in which he was responsible for all graphic and photographic images. He is also a veteran of many photographic assignments, including long stints in the Far East. Bill Snead, staff photographer for The Magazine, was previously assistant managing editor for photography at The Washington Post and chief of photography for UPI in Saigon during the Vietnam War. Dick Swanson, a former staff photographer for Life magazine, is now a restaurateur and free-lance photographer in Washington.

Because of the requirement that eligible photographs be reflective images, entries in this year's contest numbered less than half of last year's 10,000. However, according to judge Bill Snead, "The quality was exceptionally high. The entries seem to get better and better each year, which points up the high level of interest in photography in the Washington area."

Only amateurs -- defined as someone who had not sold one or more photographs for a total of more than $25 in the previous year -- were considered eligible. First-place prizes of $100, second-place prizes of $50, and honorable mention certificates were awarded in four categories: color, blank and white, instant and photographs by photographers under 16 years old. Not pictured here are photographs by Stephen E. Prettyman, honorable mention in color, and Douglas Allchin, honorable mention in black and white.

Future entrants might be interested to know that the category which had the fewest entries was instant photography. And it wasn't until the judges had finished their work that they noticed that this year's first-place winner in that category, Bud Branley, was also last year's first-place winner in instant photography. For good photographers, things can click more than once. i