Does Your Mirror Lie?

In this day and age when we don’t know who or what to believe, surely something we

Can't trust our mirrors, either?

Can’t trust our mirrors, either?

trust, day after day, hasn’t let us down! That something is the mirror we look into numerous times a day. Granted our image is reversed in the mirror. Your right eye is now your left eye, etc. The backward image and person we see in the mirror is profoundly different from what is real. Here’s an experiment. To find your actual mirror image take two mirrors and place them at right angles. This is a mirror that reflects you as others see you. Our mirrors shows one perspective but to really see what we look like we must see ourselves through the eyes of a friend. This is far to complicated for me to understand, but it may be the answer to why we often hate photographs taken of us. A camera sees a version of us we rarely see.

I must say this is helping me understand why someone will rave on about how good a photo is of me, one I don’t like at all. Here’s the advice given to me: “Trust your friend, because they know more what you look like than you do.”

Have you seen the 3-minute video produced by Dove and entitled, “Dove Real Beauty

Dove Real Beauty Sketches.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches.

Sketches.” It proves as humans we tend to see ourselves through rose colored glasses. This test shows that most of us think that we look better than we actually do. Dove’s experiment involved making a sketch of a person, then enhancing it and producing several versions of the original. The person sketched is then asked to identify the unmodified picture. Nearly always, they tended to select an attractively enhanced one.

Getting back to the mirror. I remember my daughter looking into the mirror above my sink sofaand saying, “yuk!’ She didn’t like the image. I often find when looking in some rest rooms’ mirrors that sometimes I detest what I see and other times I like the image better than the one I see at home. Are mirrors unreliable? I’ve always thought the difference was in the lighting. You may decide to put this whole subject out of your mind, but  it does explain that our mirror is how we actually look and our picture is how others see us. Got it?

Under these circumstances, I wonder how an artist ever paints a portrait to the subject’s

Here is the Duchess of Cambridge portrait.

Here is the Duchess of Cambridge portrait.

liking? People tend to have a view about what they want their portrait to look like and that oftentimes is to be seen as the “fairest of them all.” You may be aware of the recent furor over the Duchess of Cambridge’s first portrait and how people expressed their dislike of it directly to the painter, Paul Emsley. The Duchess herself was very gracious about it, and it could be because she liked it. To be good at doing portraits one must be excellent at drawing but also be successful rendering a likeness, which expresses character and sometimes status. It’s not just copying shapes and lines, but how the artist sees them. Sounds like a near impossibility to me. At the end of this writing I have pictures of some portraits done of me. They are not called works of art but, rather, works of love.

I find it most interesting that when George W. Bush left the presidency he began to paint

Father and son protrait, by George W. Bush.

Father and son protrait, by George W. Bush.

and he didn’t stop at landscapes, he went on to doing portraits. In his recent book, “41: A Portrait of My Father” there is a portrait he did of himself and his father, a good likeness of both of them. The book is a love story about his dad and the portrait is also a work of love. He did advise that a person should never paint his wife or mother. Bush said when he left the office of president it wasn’t the power or the fame that he missed, but the lack of having any responsibilities. He knew it was important to stay stimulated and painting helped fill that void.

We are coming to the end of Shirl and You, and I like to think that we are not different than our mirrored images? “But not so,” say the researchers.” If photograph-you looked like mirror-image you, everyone else would think you look bizarre.” We might prefer a facial photograph that corresponds to our mirror image, but our friends would say it doesn’t look Shirl's blog on portraits 10like us. I think it best not to worry about it, but decide that the photograph-you looks great. Either that, or throw away our mirrors and forget about that image.

This Shirl and You’s subject may be one you fully understand, maybe better than I do, so I definitely need to hear your comments.  Look for my portraits below.

This pencil drawing was done many years ago- by my husband.

This pencil drawing was done many years ago- by my husband.

 

This watercolor was done last year by my granddaughter, Yvonne Weaver.

This watercolor was done last year by my granddaughter, Yvonne Weaver.

10 thoughts on “Does Your Mirror Lie?

  1. Some days you look in a mirror and think – “oh, I look terrible!” Other times you say to yourself,” I don’t look that bad.” I guess it’s more important that our friends look at us through eyes of love and sometimes don’t look at our wrinkles and flaws…we women have decided that in Heaven we’re going to look our best, whatever age that was.

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  2. As we age, we change and change can be hard to accept. I admit that I think that I look better on some days than on others. Maybe it is because I like how my hair looks on that day, or how my outfit or makeup looks. True friends and family will always love you, no matter how you look. What is most important is how we look to God; and what is on the inside is more important than what is on the outside.

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    • Like they say, there’s only one alternative to old age. I for one am thankful to still be here, even though, the mirror keeps reminding me that I’m not the same as I used to be. LOL You’re right, Colleen, about our main concern being what’s on the inside.

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  3. What a fun post! Interesting to think about. I don’t think we can trust cameras either though. Have you seen some of the “selfies” people put online? They are holding their cell phones and taking a photo of themselves. Unfortunately, when you hold a camera that close to a person’s face, the lens distorts the facial features. I’ve noticed extremely large noses in these photos! And some mirrors distort too. I have wondered why Matt always prefers different photos of me than I do but hadn’t thought it through. I like what you said about trust your friend’s advice on photos. Oh, by the way…I have some pics of you that I just love! And your portraits are beautiful. I wish I had a copy of the one Dad did.

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    • Your comments on photographs are true. It’s easy to distort features. I never thought looking in the mirror was such a big deal until I did research on this post. It does give us something to think about. I’m sure everyone reading it will have some different ideas on the subject.Thanks for writing, Janine.

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  4. Did I read this correctly…? Are you ending your blog…? I will miss it terribly. Aging is a natural process and I’ve looked forward to it. My mother never had the chance to get old and grey. I’m grateful for every year that the good Lord has blessed me with. Went to an unofficial class reunion a few years back and the “popular girls” were bashing another “popular girl” and in the same breathe turned and said to me…”but Karen…your hair looks good that color”…I took a breath and said a prayer before I spoke…”I’m the real deal…I’ve earned everyone of these grey hairs and I don’t ever plan on covering them up”. I don’t believe that the portrait of Kate shows her true wholesomeness. She always shows her teeth with her genuine smile. And Burl’s drawing of you captures the “you” of my memory. And Bush did an excellent portrait of his dad…but poorly of himself. I believe people see us as we truly are…which is our beautiful selves…while we see ourselves in a totally different light. Yvonne captures you in every way. You can see how much she truly loves you…she sees you exactly as you are. I like what Linda said about our friends looking at us through the eyes of love. And in heaven…I will definitely be a child of 5…long before anything evil in this world could touch me.

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    • I surely enjoyed your response, Karen. No, I’m not stopping Shirl and You. I’m not sure what you are referring to. I’ll have to read it again. I would miss hearing from you. What we need today, are more people looking through eyes of love. You, Karen, are a great example of this.

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  5. I’m glad you clarified about not ending Shirl and You because when I read “We are coming to the end of Shirl and You,” I assumed that you were discontinuing the blog. I don’t always comment but I enjoy reading it. As far as mirrors are concerned I gotta’ tell ya’ that I only look at them when necessary, and some days I wonder why my sister is looking back at me! She says the same thing happens to her.

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    • Hi Kathleen: Guess I goofed this time. You are the second person who thought I was quitting Shirl and You. When I said coming to the end of ShirlandYou, I meant the one I was writing. I always appreciate your comments. A little encouragement, like yours. goes a long way, and motivates me to keep writing.I think I’ll start a new Shirl and You right now, so watch for it.

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