The MeError project collects a series of short circuits, of visual errors. Apparently they are simple photos taken in front of a mirror: we should see ourselves reflected in it, but we don’t, as if we were invisible. In other words these pictures show us what mirrors reflect when we are not in front of them. Real images, that exist in the world, but we can never witness, for we are their own interference.
We should start by mentioning the writings of Jurgis Baltrušaitis on the matter of mirrors and mistakes. But it is the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle that really comes at hand. The mere act of observing reality has already changed it, and that’s exactly what happens every time we step in front of a mirror: the image that was reflected a moment before is modified by our own appearance. So, we will never be able to observe directly what a mirror shows when we are not in front of it. Only disappearing, we can observe reality without alterations.
The error, the disappearing of the self, the acknowledgment of ourselves as disturbing elements, the denial of our own image – almost a self-imposed iconoclasm, are all deep rooted elements. In my photography there is always the urge of taking pictures unseen, almost vanishing. The sensation of unease that some people feels in front of a camera is equally relevant. A discomfort that probably comes when we look at our own image, in which not always we can fully recognize ourselves.
Thus self-portrait and still life collide, creating images that are both the things and none at the same time. In fact, up to where it is legitimate to speak of portrait? Each one of these pictures premise it and the vertical format is clear about that. Yet is our very absence that triggers the mechanism of the image.
Finally it is important to discus the legitimacy of manipulating the images. Even in his words do not refer to digital photography, on the matter I like to quote Todd Hido: “I shoot sort of like a documentarian but I print like a painter. All my stuff is shot with natural light on a tripod. Untouched, and unstaged […] In the darkroom I’ll twist it all around in anyway I find that works and still feels real to me.”
(All words by Leonardo Magrelli)