Mirrors and rabbit holes

woman in black sleeveless crop top and white leggings using a butterfly machine in front of a mirror

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

A student of mine asked me to take a look at her website. She is a musician, a photographer, and a model. And a model? Yes, I had to take a second look, too. Yes, she is pretty, but a model???

Her website was good, but not great. There were a couple of pictures of her, some professional details … and no gallery. A model with no online portfolio? The site said very little about her, in fact. Then I saw the Instagram icon. Aside from being a blogger with an aversion to cameras, I have no social media presence.  I clicked it and down the rabbit hole I went.

There were a large number of pictures of her (and little else). Some were professional-looking portraits of her, and some strange other woman. Ah, those were her pictures!

No … well, yes, but I’ll explain shortly.

As a photographer, I would have expected to see a portfolio of her work. None there, except pics of a few meals. There were a number of nice portraits of her, and probably twice as many selfies. The selfies: she is obsessed with her own body. She works out a lot – I’ve seen her at the gym – and she documents her progress with “daily” photos, but few of them make it to her Instagram account. She started pretty, and she is still pretty fit.

What about that other woman? That other woman is really beautiful. (Her face is the obvious difference.)

It wasn’t until I stumbled across a selvie (A self-movie) that I figured it out. It was that other woman in motion, and it was clearly marked as a self movie. All those pictures of the other woman were actually selfies. All the gym pics were shot in a mirror with her camera (not phone) obscuring her face, but these were close ups, and she looked like a completely different person, mysteriously beautiful. I had forgotten that selfies were mirror images when taken on a phone.

In the few photos of me that exist – I’ve never shot a selfie – I look like me. Of course, when I look in a mirror, I think I look like myself. That is the way I’m used to seeing myself, but if you think about it, I’m never seeing my true image until I look at a picture taken by someone else.

What would it be like for my mirror image to be much more beautiful than my true image?

I don’t wear makeup often, but am I fooling myself when I put it on? Would I be, if I was that mysterious beautiful woman? How would I deal with my mirror image being more beautiful? Would I try to replicate it? Would I have a serious self-image obsession?

Would I have an Instagram site with hundreds of selfies?

Maybe.

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