Strange as it may seem we see our selves the way we really are in the mirror. Everyone else sees us in reverse, including the camera. So all those printed images we see of our favorite people are backwards. Actually stars on screen are presented backwards also. You can check this out by looking in the mirror and observing that your right eye is on the right in the mirror. In a photo you will find your right eye on the left.
It is difficult when doing a self portrait from a photo to remember where to look for your eye. Imagine working in clay on your right eye. You must remember that it is on the left in the photo. Imagine trying to reverse it in mid air before your fingers reach the clay. It is easier to give up and do it exactly as the photo, backwards. This is what I did for my self portrait from a photo.
I am much happier with my self portrait from a mirror as it really looks like me! It is the way I see me. To you it may not look like me, as it will be backwards for you. We and our favorite friends see ourselves straight on in the mirror. That I believe is why we so often don’t like photographs of ourselves. Our true self is in the mirror.
One of my favorite myths is the story of narcissus which I believe is greatly misused in our culture. We are taught to think of narcissus as conceited, and that he drowned a terrible death because he refused the love of some maiden who was after him. “Too good for her.”
The way I interpret the original version of the story is that Narcissus knew that others desired him only because he was beautiful on the outside. He wanted to be loved for all that he was so had refused their superficial attentions, incurring their wrath!.
When he wandered away to the woods excommunicated, and looked into the water he saw his reflection, his true self. When he saw the depths of himself he felt the love he was looking for, surrendered at last and dove deep into himself (the water) and was reborn as an eternal flower the Narcissus. It is said that we can only love another after we love ourselves. This I think is what the story of narcissus is about. Narcissus still blooms in the spring showing us his lovely face, reminding us that a flower stays true to itself. A rose is a rose is a rose!!!! Thank you Gertrude!
So in fact what are others seeing when they see me reversed?
Who am I?
Both the person I see and the person others see?
Do I exist for others when they see me as something I am not?
Here are two of my sculptural versions; one from the mirror as I see myself and one done from the camera’s vision. Other views can be seen under new work/heads.
Take your pick. I would love your comments as to preferences.