Exercise 1: Mirrors and Windows

Initially I adopt a binary and simplistic definition that if the photographer is an insider, then the image is a mirror, and if the photographer is an outsider, then the image is a window. I am simplifying the definition to the point that the subject is known or unknown in each case.

Under this typology it becomes rather easy to make a selection. My selection follows:


I have selected these images, but I could easily have selected many others. These images either include me (self-portraits) or they include my wife and children. They are all known to me and in each case, I am an insider.


In the selection above the subjects are unknown to me and I was unknown to them. I was aware why they were there and what they were doing, but I did not share in that experience. I was a fly on the wall and in some they were aware of my presence, but in others I was essentially invisible.

I had no difficulty in making a selection with the simple definition I selected, and I have many other images in my archive that I could have selected just as easily. What if I changed the typology so that mirrors were images that reflected something of me or my interests and windows were all other images? In this case a greater proportion of my archive would be mirrors, and if I take the selection to its extreme, I might find very few images to select as windows. I make this bold statement on the basis that I only take images that interest me and therefore each image reflects some aspect of me.


  1. That’s a really good, brief summing up of the windows and mirrors thing, Simon! And the conclusion about expanding the mirror category to include anything that matches your interests (ahem) mirrors my experience. Makes me want to go back and revisit my go at the same exercise from a couple of years ago now…

    Liked by 1 person

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