The Mirror and Window analogy.
“MIRRORS AND WINDOWS has been organised around Szarkowski’s thesis that such personal visions take one of two forms. In metaphorical terms, the photograph is seen either as a mirror – a romantic expression of the photographer’s sensibility as it projects itself on the things and sights of this world; or as a window – through which the exterior world is explored in all its presence and reality.”
The metaphor of a photograph being a mirror and/or a window couldn’t have been introduced to me at a better time.
The photograph when being a ‘window’, can be seen to represent the exploration of a world beyond our own. As in in my project 100 Women of Oxford, where I ‘took’ objective portraits of one hundred women, looked out of my window and into their world – asking them questions and listening to their stories. The portraits were a documentation of our meeting.
At this point I had no idea what ‘mirror’ even meant. The artist Heelen Van Meene told me that these images were ‘nice’ and the sitters will be pleased with them, but where am I in the photo? Or what I now undesrtand, where is the mirror.
The Mirror part of the metaphor represents the artists experience, influences and creative choices that make up the image. I started introducing the mirror element into my window portraits within my project We Cannot Walk Alone
Within my practice I’ve definitely been heading towards all mirror. My new project is autobiographical with the working title, ‘self portrait’. I will not be in any of the images, but the intention is to focus my attention on the mirror, being the reflection of the artist.