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  • Writer's pictureJana

Week 1: Mirror and Windows

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

The eye is proverbially called the mirror of the soul. This eye, when consciously photographed, captures a specific image with the camera, which is described as a window to the world.

I see windows as gaping planes that hide the lives of others. Windows seem almost threatening to me. Anything can hide behind them: good or bad.

During the day, they observe us. We can't always know if someone is hiding behind the glass.

The windows are mirrors of the souls that live behind them. When the lights come on in the rooms at night, on the other hand this phenomenon flips around, too, and one suddenly can see life behind the glass. A simple light switch turns the observed into an observer. For me, the light in front of the window or the light behind the window determines this role, and whether, how, and when something is depicted.

A mirror is a step further than that.

Photographers usually hope for a moment in which the person being photographed does not feel observed. They want to capture a candid expression of the person being photographed. A reflection is a welcome helper.

Reflections are also often used very creatively to allow the photographer to capture himself, too, becoming a part of the scene, turning himself into the observer and the observed simultaneously.

The photograph I am using here as an example ....

.... was taken in Yayoi Kusama's museum in Tokyo. Kusama is known for her polka dot art. In her artistic life she has also dealt with Infinity Mirrors in addition to the famous Dots. She created installations known as Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirror Rooms, which can be seen in several museums around the world.

This picture was taken in one of these rooms. The ladder leads over several floors of the Kusama Museum. You only get a limited amount of time in this space so that you can view the art without a large crowd and, as Yayoi Kusama intended, the visitor feels as though they are a part of the installation.

The girl in the picture is on the same floor as the man and I, the person photographing the scene, am on the floor below. The girl photographs downward, to capture herself with the ladder, and the man photographs upward and fixates on the image of the girl and the infinite view beneath her skirt. Three people use a reflection in the same picture to make their own, new creation. The one observing her own image, the voyeur, and I, catching the scene.

The picture was not taken by accident. At first I was on the same floor as the two, but due to the perspective, I was only able to photograph the girl pointing downwards, or only capture the man looking up under the girl's skirt.

With an excuse, I went back into the previous exhibition and entered the room below. By now, the first man was gone, but by luck another man came in and did exactly the same thing as his predecessor.

I would be interested to know if a viewer of this image would see what I was trying to capture in the image.

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