I’ve been thinking about how I used to be a maniacal newspaper reader. Maniacal. But, in the past few years, I’ve let go of that habit. Part of it has to do with the corporatization of the newspaper business and part of it is due to that fact that I now reads dozens of blogs everyday.
I just stopped in to a blog that I read regularly and, even though it usually covers politics, the blogger had a question.
John Avarosis asks…
Why do we hate photos, but not reflections of ourselves?
I was thinking of the former, then googled it, and came across the latter. Meaning, it’s not just an issue of why so many of us hate so many photos of ourselves, even when everyone else says we actually look good in any particular photo we still hate it, yet when looking in a mirror we do often do think we look pretty good (certainly we’re more approving of ourselves in a mirror more often than we are of ourselves in a photo). So it’s not just an issue of self-esteem – or else we’d always be critical of our reflections in a mirror too. It seems that we tend to be far more critical when looking at a photo, and only a photo of ourselves. Yet we’re not nearly as critical when looking at photos of others, so it can’t just be the uniqueness of photography – there has to be a mixing of the uniqueness of you and the medium in question.
The funny thing is that I have been thinking about a similar question as it relates to aging. I’ve been wondering about the face in the mirror. What does it tell us about who we are?
I think photos represent us in the past, whereas the mirror is us now. The difference that distinguishes how we feel about mirrors and how we feel about photos is tied to the difference between how we feel about our past selves and who we are now. The person in the mirror is alive– it is who we are. The person in the photo is lost to us; separated from us by an ever widening gap of time and experience.