Flipped Portraits Showing What Subjects See In the Mirror

Unless you’re constantly staring at photos of yourself, the image that comes to mind when you think of your own appearance is most likely not what other people (and cameras) see, since mirrors show us a flipped image of ourselves. With this in mind, Los Angeles-based photographer Juan Luis Garcia is working on a project titled Face Value:

I photograph people looking at themselves through a two-way mirror. I then flip the image horizontally to show their reflection so that we get to see what the subject saw when they were looking into the mirror. It’s amazing how unique our reflections are compared to how others see our faces. The question then becomes, what do these people see when they stare into their own eyes? [#]

You can find more of these images and an interview with Garcia here.

Face Value (via Profoto)

  • mew

    Wouldn’t this exercise only be significant (or even really detectable, for that matter) to the subject of the photo? I mean, I guess if I knew Russell Simmons personally, and knew him well enough to notice differences in his mirrored image vs. his non-mirrored image, then I might see something interesting in the portrait of him, but…I don’t know, maybe I’m just misunderstanding this.

  • Mari Arana

    Mew, you’re right, it’s not really evident unless you personally know the person or it’s a flipped image of yourself. Radiolab did a whole show on something similar and they posted the image of Abraham Lincoln as how he saw himself in the mirror and how the public saw him and it’s crazy how subtle but completely different each picture looks. You can check it out here

    Pretty cool stuff.

  • mew

     I guess the giant mole helps. So Lincoln and Lemmy Kilmister are the two perfect subjects for this project.

  • Gethin Coles

    “The question then becomes, what do these people see when they stare into their own eyes?”  And the answer appears to be: absolutely  nothing profound or interesting

  • er…

    um, not sure this works via photography. Juan’s quote makes me think he needs to lay off the weed for a bit.

  • Juan Luis Garcia

    I appreciate the feedback. The images really work better with their captions as each subject has a unique story but the Profoto blog omitted them for some reason. The series is still in the early stages but I can tell you that each subject has enjoyed and thanked me for the photo session and the pictures. The idea is to photograph people in a way they haven’t been before and to make portraits in a way that excites me. I’m sure I’ll be able to show that in the final presentation but for now I appreciate the early critique although it’s a bit like tasting an uncooked meal. 

  • radishcakes

    The photos of Lincoln don’t look all that different to me.