How often do you look at your reflection without purpose or criticism? Really observe and reflect? Why would you? I read in the New Scientist years ago about a study that explores the process of staring at ones' reflection and how our perception of the self shifts. After ten minutes we remove ourselves from the expectation of the image before us. We really fixate on the image until it metamorphosis’s into something unfamiliar. It reminded me of the process of repeating a word until it becomes surreal.
Inspired, I vented this idea over chai with Gem and we decided to embark on realising it as a photo experiment. Would it translate? Would it even work?
Intrigued we pressed on...
3 weeks later we found ourselves in a black out theatre with a list full of strangers to allocated to time slots, plenty of caffeine and a mirror.
My Wista stood firmly as a favourite tool and my Hassey and digital as standby
Each participant needed to be unaware of the process and expectant results.
So did it work?
In short -as an experience- yes. Everyone felt and saw a shift. Some more extreme than others. Speaking to each of them afterwards was fascinating; and then relaying this to how I observed them when shooting was compelling. When watching, I was imagining their experience; wondering what they were feeling; guessing how aware they were.
This initial test was fun, intriguing and has definitely made me think further about how I can explore this engagement we have with ourselves.