Sunday 28 September 2014

Seeing Ourselves Through Another's Mirror

I've just returned from a blissful holiday, one which focused on walking and photography. My objective was to become more adept at all the nuances my camera offers and to be able to react quickly to a scene where I could more easily gauge aperture, shutter speed and all the other manual bells and whistles that, quite frankly, are somewhat hit and miss most of the time!

 When looking at the world through a lens, every view takes on another version of itself, one that is set up to be its most creative or artistic. That's what I hope anyway.

 This alternate version of a landscape got me thinking about how I view myself, especially as I believed the mirrors in our holiday cottage were more flattering than the ones at home. Like many people, I'm quite hard on myself when it comes to my appearance and I like to present a pleasant looking version of myself most days. As a dancer I worked with mirrors every day, scrutinizing every movement and angle; every ounce of weight. It's a hard habit to break but I am realistic (I hope) and am honouring my aging without too much unkindness. I have my under-fringe flash of grey hairs, facial lines, parts that are say, softer than they once were. Would the people who met me on this trip see a more attractive me just because I thought my jeans looked better here than the day before there? Were the mirrors really any different? Or could it be that this new reflection in unfamiliar surroundings presented me with a version of myself before my critical self had had a chance to set up and point out the less desirable bits?

 As with photography, it's about perspective. Sometimes another view is all it takes.

The Wildwood Tarot, by Mark Ryan and John Matthews. Art by Will Worthington

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