Part Three: Mirrors and Windows


The Museum of Modern Art opened an exhibition in 1978, called Mirrors and Windows. The exhibition content, curated by John Szarkowski’s, attempted to categorise photographers whose work largely reflected the subjectivity of the artist in comparison with those whose work largely sought to see outside themselves. Szarkowski wrote in the catalogue essay that accompanied the exhibition:

“The two creative motives that have been contrasted here are not discrete. Ultimately each of the pictures in this book is part of a single, complex, plastic tradition. Since the early days of that tradition, an interior debate has contested issues parallel to those illustrated here. The prejudices and inclinations expressed by the pictures in this book suggest positions that are familiar from older disputes. In terms of the best photography of a half-century ago, one might say that Alfred Stieglitz is the patron of the first half of this book and Eugène Atget of the second. In either case, what artist could want a more distinguished sponsor? The distance between them is to be measured not in terms of the relative force or originality of their work, but in terms of their conceptions of what a photograph is: is it a mirror, reflecting a portrait of the artist who made it, or a window, through which one might better know the world?” [accessed 9th April 2020]

Jo Ann Lewis’s article in the Washington Post about the exhibition:

“It promises to be one of MOMA’s most controversial shows in recent years, photographic or otherwise, not because it is so shocking, but because for most viewers it will seem so bad, so boring and banal, so empty.

The question which haunts the show is whether it really, represents American photography over the past two decades.

The dominant motif of American photography in that period has been a movement “from public to private concerns,” says Szarkowski, who has focused the show on the generation that came to artistic maturity and recognition after 1960.

“Our first obligation was to show that body of work which stands for the most interesting, adventurous and vital work done since that time – the work which has ‘juice,’ and which is most capable of influencing other photographers,” he explains.

“The old division between ‘straight’ and ‘synthetic’ (or manipulated) work no longer conformed to what I sensed as the main arguments in current photography.”

Thus Szarkowski developed the thesis that serves as the basis for his show, clearly stated in his introductory essay to the exhibition catalogue: “In metaphorical terms, recent photography’s vision of two ways: either as ‘mirror’ – a romantic expression of the photographer’s sensibility as it projects itself on the things and sights of this world; or as ‘window’ – through which the exterior world is explored in all its presence and reality.”

Thus the title, “Mirrors and Windows.” And to reinforce his theme, Szarkowski has had the gallery walls painted variously gray and white, the gray walls hung with the “mirror,” or more subjective photographs, and the white walls with the “window,” or more objective ones. Viewers in a hurry might best stick to the white walls until they near the end, when the strains begin to merge and the show ends up in a muddle, in a room which has been painted, perhaps symbolically, off-white.

Most viewers, of course, will find something to like among the 200 examples by photographers as various as Diane Arbus, Paul Caponigro, Mark Cohen, Judy Dater, Bruce Davidson, Les Krims, Sol Lewitt, Ray Metzker, Joey Meyerowitz, Tod Papageorge, Stephen Shore, George Tice, Jerry Uelsmann and Garry Winogrand.

The overall impression, however, is that American photography, at this juncture at least, is groping in two directions at once. It is trying to find its way into the art world with experimental techniques and new formats based on other media (collage, cut-and-reconstruct, series, narrative and provocative juxtaposition); while at the same time struggling to get away from the other pictorial arts by establishing an aesthetic found in photography alone.

This latter trend has resulted in something called “snapshot chic,” which denies traditional pictorial composition by first omitting significant subject matter and then insisting upon tipped horizon lines, harsh lighting and other devices characteristic of “bad” snapshots.

The resulting “bad” photographs, best exemplified in the works of William Eggleston and Garry Winogrand, are now called “formalist” in the contemporary photographic lexicon. Which puts photography right where painting was 10 years ago.

Szarkowski’s perception of the past two decades, not surprisingly, is more positive. “It seems to me that the generation represented here has defined new lines of experiment that are likely to remain persuasive for some years to come,” he says.

What he’s ended up with, however, might better be called “Old Themes and Derivations.”

From the first walk-through until the last, it is clear that the earliest “window” pictures in the show (which is hung chronologically) are the best, notably the work of Elliott Erwitt, Art Sinsabaugh, early Lee Friedlander (before he joined the “though” brigade), Irwin B. Klein, Ken Josephson and Ernst Haas, who seems to be on the wrong wall.

The early “mirror” photographs from this era are over-abundant with close-ups of rocks, a genre derived from Edward Weston and Minor White, who did it better.

After that, rather than “Mirrors and Windows,” the choice seems to be between the hokey and the boring. There are endless, visually meaningless experiments with various techniques along the long gray wall – which seems to swallow up the photographs, good and bad – film and plexiglas constructions derived from the romantic composites of Jerry Uelsmann; inkless intaglio and photoengraving like Naomi Savage’s two-part “Before Hand,” which, like several other works in the show, has nothing more than a punning title to recommend it.

Further meaningless messing with media is manifest in other example in Kwik-Proof on vinyl, gum bichromate, toned mural paper, etc., etc.

Did Szarkowski choose the above (and others too numerous to mention) solely because they were experimental and innovative? Nobody was put in unless I felt the work had intrinsic beauty,” says Szarkowski.

But one is hard put, indeed, to find any intrinsic beauty in the endless variations on the female nude – some in mysterious and provocative poses, as in the work of Duane Michals, where mystery wholly replaces content, and in les Krims’ Kodalith print of a lady, nude from the waist down, her top (clothed) half hidden under a pile of leaves. As bad as much of the company is in this show, Krims’ photographs finally are put into the perspective they deserve: Even here, they are utterly meaningless as art or photography.

And then there is the whole parade of cut-up-and-reassembled nudes which go from mildly interesting in Ray Metzker’s photomosiacs to the many Metzker derivations, which get worse as they get bigger, climaxing in the shows’ absolute nadir, Robert Heinecken’s “Cliche Vary/Autoertoicism, 1974,” yet another cut-up-and-reassembled nude, this one provactively half-clothed in black stockings. Cliché indeed. This is one of the few recent photography shows in which the question “is it art?” becomes not only relevant, but can only be answered far too often with a resounding “no.” In many cases, it isn’t even photography.

One of the most controversial figures in the exhibition is bound to be Gary Winogrand, a photojournalist who has produced several photo-essays (published in book form) that are valid and striking social documents – notably “Women Are Beautiful,” which he sets out to disprove pictorially. The controversy stems largely from Szarkowski’s seemingly over-blown claim that among the “windows,” Winogrand is “the central photographer of his generation.” Szarkowski may well have been desperate.

Winogrand’s downbeat ’60s-negative photographs are aggressively nonart, except perversely in one series in the show that takes a harsh look at the art crowd of the ’60s, fertile territory for social comment, to be sure. Larry Fink took up that cause and moved on to other parties, while other derivations from this starkly lit, tilted, seemingly uncomposed, snapshotlike photography-a-la-mode go on and on. It is also a genre from which a great deal of “juice” has been sapped, fulfilling Szarkowski’s chief requirement. Sapped dry, in several examples on view here – a terminal case being the harsh photographs of four young girls by Nicholas Nixon.

But the reason for Szarkowski’s enthusiasm is important and valid. For in this work the photographer has sought a new form which has nothing to do with the traditional, nicely composed esthetics of painting, but everything to do with the aesthetic potential of the camera. It is a whole new “formalist” approach, searching for a new route within photography. It’s not the cut-it-up-and-glue-it-down school, which cannot be taken seriously.

The one good thing that does begin to happen during the course of this show is the emergence of color. Beginning early with the work of Ernst Haas and Marie Cosindas, color takes a deep breath with William Eggleston (who even in the absence of interesting subject matter manages to convey palpable mood solely through his use of color and then moves on to say something explicitly poetic in the work of Joel Meyerowitz, whose “Hartwig House, Truro, Cape Cod” and another view of a clothesline overlooking the sea, are among the stars of this show.

Christopher P. James’ hand-painted photo of a commencement tent and Eve Sonneman’s red blanket on a gray beach also use color to worthy ends as does Larry McPherson, whose curvaceous cow lends a touch of humor to this poker-faced exhibition.

The exhibition ends in the aforementioned off-white room, with two giant cut-up-and-assembled (this time with staples) portraits of critic and author Susan Sontag, one made from photostats of bits of pages from her book. “On Photography,” the other from darkroom debris. Both are based on an actual photograph of Sontag by Jill Krementz.

It’s enough to make you want to pull down the shade on the windows, cover the mirrors, and look at a good painting.” [accessed 9th April 2020]

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.

Project 1: Mirrors

Mary Kelly is known for her project-based work, in her words, addressing questions of sexuality, identity and historical memory in the form of large-scale narrative installations. I must pause here to digest what that means.

Her widely acclaimed project Post-Partum Document was a six-year (1973-1979) documentation of her experience of motherhood. This work is a culmination or at least on the path of of her long-term critique of conceptualism, informed by the feminist theory of the early women’s movement in which she was actively involved throughout the 1970s.

Kelly writes that “When it was first shown at the ICA in London in 1976, the work provoked tabloid outrage because Documentation I incorporated stained nappy liners. Each of the six-part series concentrates on a formative moment in her son’s mastery of language and her own sense of loss, moving between the voices of the mother, child and analytic observer. Informed by feminism and psychoanalysis, the work has had a profound influence on the development and critique of conceptual art.” [accessed 11th April 2020]

Post-Partum Document consists of six sections of documentation that follow the development of Kelly’s son, Kelly Barrie, from birth until the age of five. Kelly intricately charts her relationship with her son, and her changing role as a mother by writing on artefacts associated with childcare: baby clothes, his drawings, items he collects, and his first efforts at writing. In addition, there are detailed analytical texts that exist in parallel to the objects.

Mary Kelly, Post-Partum Document, 1973-1979

Mirrors of the self

“In 1999 a European organization that promotes the emergence of young artists (Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes) selected Elina Brotherus as the artist-in-residence for the Musée Nicéphore Niépce located in Chalon-sur-Saône, France. During her stay there, Brotherus created her seminal series of photographs called Suites françaises (French Suites).

The series consists of images in which she teaches herself French with the help of Post-it stickers. It deals with living in a foreign country and absorbing its culture and visual environment. The residency was a turning point in her life. It enabled Brotherus subsequently to live and work in France as well as in her native Finland.

In 2011 Brotherus was again invited to Chalon-sur-Saône, this time to teach at a workshop in a local high school. She stayed in the same monastery guesthouse as before. She photographed many of the same places that she had explored visually twelve years earlier. The result was a series called 12 ans après (12 Years Later) in which her new images form a poignant dialogue with the older photos. In the series 12 ans après, the artist finds herself in a mid-life point. What she is living now was to her younger self an unknown future. She looks back at her life at the age of 40. The passage of time is made concretely visible.” [accessed 13th April 2020]

Jessica Brier on Esther Teichmann, 12th March 2014: “In 1978, John Szarkowski, … posited in his book Mirrors and Windows that there exists “a fundamental dichotomy in contemporary photography between those who think of photography as a means of self-expression and those who think of it as a method of exploration.” This debate may sound quite basic to us now, knowing with hindsight the extent to which art practice, in general, and what is deemed photography, more specifically, has changed over the course of a few decades. But Szarkowski’s notion of what a photograph does—its function as a physical object and a tool for understanding what we see, optically or otherwise—resonates with the work of interdisciplinary artist Esther Teichmann. I suggest that, in addition to a mirror or window, and perhaps many other things too, a photograph can also be a portal: between the personal, or individual, and the universal; between reality and the supernatural; and between photography itself and other mediums…In both style and conception, Teichmann’s painted photographs recall the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a consortium of late-19th-century painters and writers from many disciplines. Like adherents to Pictorialism in photography, the Pre-Raphaelites rejected what they saw as an overly mechanized world, favoring instead a more classical approach to art-making. Teichmann’s painted photographs, products of her constant material experiments, have the soft palette of the Pre-Raphaelites and a similar feeling of harking back to a previous time or feeling. Not unlike classical painting, these tableaux suggest—perhaps more than any of her other work—narratives untold, mysteries captured by a single moment but never revealed.” [accessed 13th April 2020]

Esther Teichmann, Mythologies, 2015

Mirrors of Society and Culture

“Over the past 40 years this artist and photographer’s work has been a continual exploration of the structure and interpretation of identity. His best-known work includes his photographic series featuring unsuspecting people walking along shopping streets in the major cities of the world. Identities 1970 – 2017 will feature work ranging from his early career in the 1970s to his most contemporary street photography, including a new series on shoppers in The Hague.

For more than 25 years Hans Eijkelboom (b. Arnhem, 1949) has been photographing the restless crowds that pass through city centres.  With his camera at chest level, he goes looking for commonalities and resemblances in the appearance and behaviour of chance passers-by.  In the resulting series of snapshots, you are first struck by the similarities: green parkas with blue jeans, short denim skirts with black leggings, Rolling Stones t-shirts, and sleeveless checked shirts. Only gradually do you notice how much effort everyone has put into finding a distinctive combination or some other way of adding their own twist to the current fashion. This body of work, which by now consists of almost 6,000 Photo Notes, shows how difficult it is to fulfil our desire for individuality within the framework of consumer society.” [accessed 13th April 2020]

In his series, With My Family, Eijkelboom replaces the father in each family, fitting in so perfectly, that one does not initially realise.

Hans Eijkelboom, With My Family, 2014

From the course text: “In Identity, Eijkelboom’s assistant contacted people from the artist’s past and asked them what they thought he would be now. The result is a hilarious stream of portraits where Eijkelboom acts out the profession or person they describe in the picture. One person even claimed to have been in love with him while another thought he wouldn’t have amounted to much. One person thought he might be a photographer!

Although Eijkelboom uses himself in these pictures, he is making wider comments on identity and perception. In many ways he is denying his own identity to the camera by deferring to other people’s opinions.”

Hans Eijkelboom, Identity

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential artists in contemporary art. The Museum of Modern Art writes of her “Throughout her career, she has presented a sustained, eloquent, and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity and the nature of representation, drawn from the unlimited supply of images from movies, TV, magazines, the Internet, and art history. Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has captured herself in a range of guises and personas which are at turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting. To create her photographs, she assumes multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist, and wardrobe mistress. With an arsenal of wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetics, and props, Sherman has deftly altered her physique and surroundings to create a myriad of intriguing tableaus and characters, from screen siren to clown to aging socialite.” [accessed 14th April 2020]

The New York Times review of her project Centrefolds says “In 1981 Cindy Sherman took off on men’s magazine centerfolds in a series of photographic double spreads initially commissioned — but not used by — the magazine Artforum. Close-cropped and close up, they portray this multi-self-portraitist in various roles, from a sultry seductress to a frightened, vulnerable victim who might have just been raped.

The mood of each of these life-size storytelling pictures is charged, not only by Ms. Sherman’s poses, expressions, clothes and wigs but also by the use of gels that cast the images in colors appropriate to their narratives. A sort of kitschy orange suffuses ”Untitled No. 96,” in which Ms. Sherman lies dreamily on a linoleum floor in a sweater and skirt, a thirty-something single clutching a ”Personals” ad torn from a newspaper.

In ”Untitled No. 90” she is bathed in a pink glow as she sleepily eyes a telephone placed next to her bed. In ”Untitled No. 94,” an eerie greenish cast pervades a shot in which she half reposes in tomboy chino clothes, fixing the viewer with a challenging, rebellious gaze.

More than simple spoofs of the stereotypes promulgated by various magazines, these photographs manage to convey the ambiguities of women playing gender cliché roles and even Ms. Sherman’s own unease at casting herself in them. Preceding a long era of repulsive imagery when she took herself out of the picture, using instead body parts, mutilated dolls, rotting foods and such, they re-emerge as positively refreshing.” [accessed 14th April 2020]

“Comprising almost 700 snapshot-like portraits sequenced against an evocative music soundtrack, Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is a deeply personal narrative, formed out of the artist’s own experiences around Boston, New York, Berlin, and elsewhere in the late 1970s, 1980s, and beyond. Titled after a song in Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, Goldin’s Ballad is itself a kind of downtown opera; its protagonists—including the artist herself—are captured in intimate moments of love and loss. They experience ecstasy and pain through sex and drug use; they revel at dance clubs and bond with their children at home; and they suffer from domestic violence and the ravages of AIDS. “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is the diary I let people read,” Goldin wrote. “The diary is my form of control over my life. It allows me to obsessively record every detail. It enables me to remember.” The Ballad developed through multiple improvised live performances, for which Goldin ran through the slides by hand and friends helped prepare the soundtrack—from Maria Callas to The Velvet Underground—for an audience not unlike the subjects of the pictures. The Ballad is presented in its original 35mm format, along with photographs that also appear as images in the slide show. Introducing the installation is a selection of materials from the artist’s archive, including posters and flyers announcing early iterations of The Ballad.” [accessed 14th April 2020]

Nan Goldin, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency

Exercise 2: My Personality

Defining one’s own personality is one of the hardest self-assessments and possibly the least truthful, in the sense that one’s own view is no more, and probably less, relevant than that of close friends and family. However, as this is the exercise, I have created three groups that define aspects of my personality.

Group 1
Perceptive Argumentative
Group 2
Group 3

To reflect my personality types in group 1, I have chosen to sit reading a physics textbook, looking slightly challengingly at the viewer. I sit next to a bookcase holding other texts on art, photography, physics and mathematics.

To reflect my personality types in group 2, I have chosen to sit messing with my dog, with an averted gaze. I have chosen a throw and a colourful cushion to include in the scene, to emphasise the softer sides to my personality.

In both cases, I have chosen Fujifilm’s Classic Chrome as the colour profile with a square crop to draw the viewers’ eyes into the subject matter I want them to look at.

I have chosen not to portray group 3 personality types as I am limited to space and props while in the lockdown. I might attempt it when life returns to normal.

This exercise could be extended by carrying a deeper and more considered self-analysis, resulting in a bigger set of images. The images could emphasise the roles more clearly through acting, use of props etc. in the mode of Cindy Sherman.

However, more interesting would be considering the view of others and perhaps including them in the images, rather like Hans Eijkelboom’s Identity series.

I would wish to do some research on how to convey personality in portraits. The following article was a useful start:–photo-9618 [accessed 15th April 2020]

Exercise 3: Reflecting

Marginalisation – sometimes also called social exclusion – refers to the relegation to the fringes of society due to a lack of access to rights, resources, and opportunities. It is a major cause of vulnerability, which refers to exposure to a range of possible harms and being unable to deal with them adequately.

Marginalised groups might include:

  • Religious minorities
  • Those of different colour to the majority
  • Homeless people
  • Alcoholics or drug addicts
  • Sexually abused people
  • People with mental health problems

Steering the reflection in the direction of photography, we can consider two cases:

  1. photographs taken with the objective of creating a specific opinion in the viewer
  2. an observer choosing to misrepresent a photograph to convey their own narrative

Consider the photograph of the Jefferson Unrest (Riots) [you can choose which title you use]:

Antonio French – Ferguson Riots 2014

In case 1 a photographer (from the press say) could use this image to convey a sense of aggression, and some press were. If there are any insiders here, then in this scenario they are not the photographer. The insider would probably remain hidden.

More relevant here is case 2. Antonio French, an alderman of St. Louis, was the insider, and through this and other images he was able to convey a different narrative, one of peaceful protest against a zealous, bigoted and brutal police force, which countered the use of images to misrepresent or skew the presentation of the unrest. This insider changed perception of the unrest around the world.

Project 2: Windows – Memory and the Gaze

A key feature of the gaze is that its subject remains unaware of the present viewer. Academics and theorists have identified several different gazes:

  • The spectator’s gaze – the look of the viewer at a person in the image.
  • The internal gaze – the gaze of one depicted person at another within the same image.
  • The direct address – the gaze of a person depicted in the image looking out directly, as if at the viewer (through the camera lens).
  • The look of the camera – the way the camera itself appears to look at people depicted in the image (the gaze of the photographer).
  • The bystander’s gaze – the viewer being observed in the act of viewing.
  • The averted gaze – the subject in the image deliberately looking away from the lens.
  • The audience gaze – an image depicting the audience watching the subject within the image.
  • The editorial gaze – the whole ‘institutional’ process by which a proportion of the photographer’s gaze is chosen and emphasised.

Portraits of sitters looking straight back into the lens of a camera (or the direct address) establish a real connection or bond with the viewer, via what we can call the returned gaze. When two pairs of eyes connect in this way, even across the passage of time, the viewer’s attention is arrested and something happens during this period of coupling. The viewer is asked to remember this person staring back at them from the image, and consider their being once again, through the evidence presented as their likeness is captured in a prior split second.

Helmut Newton, Self Portrait with Wife June and Models, 1981

The photograph above aims to criticize the conventional view of the male gaze (and active male gaze and female as passive object), though I include it as an example of an image demonstrating more than one type of gaze, in this case spectator’s gaze, internal gaze (Helmut and June), the look of the camera, the averted gaze (the model) and arguably both the audience and editorial gaze.

“The concept of gaze (often also called the gaze or, in French, le regard), in analysing visual culture, is one that deals with how an audience views the people presented. The concept of the gaze became popular with the rise of postmodern philosophy and social theory and was first discussed by 1960s French intellectuals, namely Michel Foucault’s description of the medical gaze and Lacan’s analysis of the gaze’s role in the mirror stage development of the human psyche. This concept is extended in the framework of feminist theory, where it can deal with how men look at women, how women look at themselves and other women, and the effects surrounding this. A key text regarding the male gaze is Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975) by Laura Mulvey. Outside of visual culture, the concept of the gaze is connected to voyeurism.

Iconic images that represent the gaze is Kiki de Montparnasse staring close-up in the camera in Ballet Mécanique (1924); Un Regard oblique (1948) by Robert Doisneau and Sophia Loren eyeing Jayne Mansfield’s décolleté.

Gazing and seeing someone gaze upon another provides us with a lot of information about our relationship to the subjects, or the relationships between the subjects upon whom we gaze, or the situation in which the subjects are doing the gazing.

The mutuality of the gaze can reflect power structure, or the nature of a relationship between the subjects, as proposed by Catherine Lutz and Jane Collins, where this “tell[s] us who has the right and/or need to look at whom”.

Gazing can often reflect emotion without speech – in Western culture, continued staring upon another can be quite unsettling to the subject.

Although it may appear that “gaze” is merely looking at, Jonathan Schroeder tells us that “it signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze”. The gaze characterizes and displays the relationships between the subjects by looking.

This idea forms a basis of feminist analysis of texts.” [accessed 15th July 2020]

Robert Doisneau, Un Regard Oblique, 1948
Sophia Loren side-eyeing Jayne Mansfield

Artists working in other mediums use the ‘window’ as a mechanism through which to communicate memory via their work. Bergson refers to as ‘pure’ memory, which deals specifically with a consolidated imprint of an event at the point of its occurrence. Unlike the first, it cannot be reworked or perfected, but:

“represents an unrepeatable moment which cannot be altered.”

Russell. B, The History of Western Philosophy (2004) London: Routledge

Power of memory can also be given through an apparent lack of information, what has been described as the ‘emptiness’ or the ‘void’.

Exercise 4: The Gaze

I was inspired by Robert Doisneau’s Un Regard Oblique for this exercise. Sitting in a coffee shop close to an open window I observed that a high percentage of the passers by would look into the coffee shop. Often, they would appear to look directly at me.

The inside of the coffee shop was dark and it was bright outside and it is likely that they could not see me looking at them with a camera at chest height (I did not want to appear to be taking photographs). Nevertheless, the subjects appear to gaze back.

This exercise could be improved on by using a longer lens, using a tripod, probably using a flash, rather like Lorca.