Let’s assume photography and mirrors didn’t see the light of day. Would appearances then be mirrored by public opinion of oneself or does deception arise out of a lack of perception? Is ‘seeing’ really ‘believing’? Mirrors document this best as they have a way of taking us on a journey of reflections, creating multiple identities as we are arrested by forces of egotistical fancy. It helps us connect with ourselves in a way that no artist can hope to achieve as we intimately romance ourselves, give in to superficiality and embrace the reality that confronts us rather than be in conflict between the truth and what’s advertised. The fairer sex has bonded with mirrors to depths that cannot be reflected even by the most reflective mirror!
Mirrors come in different shapes, forms and sizes. Flatteringly deceptive, some are aesthetically created with tints and angles to provide angled views and stories. Keeping it plain and simple, let’s focus on the plane mirror. We look at it as it looks back at us, sizing us up and giving an honest reflection of what we really are, maintaining transparency between the object and image, unless of course we’re living in the world of “Mirrors” or any other horror flick, where we’re trapped in our own reflection and there’s more to mirrors than meets the eye!
We throw light on the mirror and expect it, in turn to throw some light on our features, noteworthy or otherwise. We observe the image of our ego in the eyes of the world, appreciate our beauty for what it’s worth and enhance the object cosmetically to alter the image in contrast to a digitally doctored image that has little influence on the object. We aim at setting the stage to face the world through our image (other self, alter ego) and communicate with ourselves in a bid to make our ego a stiff competitor with our alter ego, expressing ourselves with as much artistic freedom as we desire, enacting roles detachedly as we watch our alter egos vividly take centre stage. It’s a vicarious thrill of taking in the perceived object, only in this case it’s on a very personal level.
The charm of the mirror has long been its capacity to expand our boundaries of vision. Its power is reflected in the ability to focus otherwise hidden areas within our field of vision by appropriate angling. Concave and convex mirrors bring to light, darker or lighter details. Cylindrical and paraboloidal mirrors add more colour to the detail. Two-way mirrors, by virtue of invariably representing life on either side have been cinematic for the darker side!
While artists and photographers seek to create and recreate elements by adding touches of brilliance to stimulate us, mirrors represent art in the purest form. It captures the pristine glory of images blending into each other in seamless photographic harmony and we are ensnared by art and life imitating each other, swaying to the whims of our imagination as we fancy ourselves on the world stage. We test the water and check whether the reflection carried is ripple-free!
Perhaps technology would find a way for mirrors to be designed to reflect more than just what we see now and put us to the moment of truth, revealing our character as well.”Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? ” would then, take on a lot more significance in assessing fairness in all respects! There would be intense competition with character-building being the order of the day as points are scored for fair-play and what better inspiration than to get publicity for it! It would detract people with sordid pasts who will realize they’d have to make quick amends or be scarred for life. Would it make the world a better place? Fear would certainly be planted as now there’s more to mirrors than meets the eye!