Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

June 7, 2014

Transmitted, Filtered, Reflections

I saw a post on Facebook today that had a picture of two men in Central Park underneath was this quote:

"We're eye doctors."
"What's something about the eye that most people don't realize?"
"The eye doesn't see. The brain sees. The eye just transmits. So what we see isn't only determined by what comes through the eyes. What we see is affected by our memories, our feelings, and by what we've seen before."


I remember when I was younger, I would watch someone I really cared about act in a way that said she thought she was not beautiful. I remember watching her intently and thinking... 'but you can't see what I see'. She would only see what the mirror showed her, she would never see herself in the 'first person', it would always, only be a reflection of the person she is. 

I remember going with my Dad to a special event that he was running (My Dad is a PR specialist and was the communications director of Canon Canada) the event was to show off some of Canon's new products, one of those new products was a camera that could take a picture of your eye ball... no kidding. You would line your eye up with the view finder and it snapped a shot, but you didn't get a photo back of your beautiful blues/browns/greens or hazels, you got a picture that showed the actual eye ball. Obviously this was a special camera, used for medical purposes but they allowed us to take a picture, and what I got back was a Polaroid style shot of my eyeball.
It was pretty cool really. 

I also remember thinking, years later when I knew this particular woman who so struggled with her self image, about that picture of my eye. It caused me to think about what I see, and also what I don't see. I look at the sky and it's blue, but someone who is colour blind may say it's green. So then, what colour is the sky? What about a reflection? If I stand at side by side with you and look into a stream I will not see the exact same thing as you, even though we are looking at the same thing. We may be different heights, and we are not staring at the exact same spot, and the ripples from the breeze may differ slightly, and because we are side by side and not on top of each other we will have different angles of light, different shadows, different reflections staring back at us. 

So that leads me back to what we see in the mirror, that reflection that we stand in front of on a daily basis while getting ready to go out and face the world, the one we often have a problem with. I can look at her, (my reflection) and see a lot of things, but they are only ever a reflection, or as these eye doctors have said, a 'transmitted, 'filtered' view of ourselves. We see the lies that we have whispered to ourselves for years, we see  the self doubt, we see the things that people have told us about ourselves, we see the 'filters', we see the reflection, we do not see ourselves in the first person.