Portfolios > Two-Way Mirror, Portraits and Self-Portraits

Two-Way Mirror, Portraits and Self-Portraits

My adventure with photography began in 1964. I was raised in the country, most of my relatives lived in the city. When they’d come to visit, photographs were taken of things they wanted to remember. In my subconscious, a connection was established between photography and happiness. One of my visiting relatives, Uncle Alex, gave me a camera. My very first photograph was of Catriona, the girl next door. I photographed her and then she photographed me. I made my first self-portrait in 1969 while hitchhiking around Ireland with my friend Mike. I photographed our reflection in a mirror. Psychologically however, we presented ourselves to the camera as objects, not subjects.

At age 15 I determined that travel would provide a more fruitful education, so, I dropped out of school. I went traveling, and subsequently documented my adventures with photography. With minimal self-awareness, I put myself in many of my photographs. I now appreciate that doing so, produced evidence of where I had been and, to the extent that any medium can, confirmed my existence. I also photographed other people. I photographed my relationships with many of them over time. This collection of portfolios celebrates documentation of significant relationships. Some of the people are gone and some remain.

My adventure was not always optimistic. I experienced a mid-life period of melancholy. I used photography as a therapeutic friend. I explored the “Looking Glass-Self Theory”. Which affirms: we understand who we are from the reactions of other people towards us. Therefore, if we depend on others to recognize who we are, when we look at other people, we’re also looking at ourselves. In-essence, we reflect each other. When I accepted that premise, every portrait from then on, and-also, before then, became a self-portrait. I’m always in the picture, and always have been. Photographs are two-way mirrors, subjects and objects.