Reflective Surfaces


R is for reflective surfaces.

Letter R

You hold a photograph of someone beloved staring into the lens, and you feel like they’re looking into your eyes.

When breaking up with someone — if you mean it — the first thing you do is put away all their pictures. Keeping their images around means keeping the person alive and current in your thoughts.

Here’s the inverse example: I recently moved into a new apartment and hadn’t gotten around to putting out the framed photos of my family. When I discovered the pictures in a box, a pang came over me and I immediately missed every single member. It’s as if without the pictures, they had temporarily receded in my memory.

That day, I put out all the frames, and every family member received a long call from me. Then I went on social media and deleted the pictures of the ex I sometimes still thought about, to prove to myself that it really was over.

Therapy comes in all forms, I guess.


Getting back to eyes staring out from a picture, even my own have been an issue. I have to throw away my outdated acting headshots — duplicated by the hundreds — quickly and without thinking because it’s unsettling to see my face at the bottom of a garbage can.

As easy as they are to produce, duplicate and dispose, it’s fascinating that pictures hold such power.


And reflections? A mere trick of light, yet there’s something mystical about the doubling up of an object. Think of eternal mirrors. In me, at least, they inspire headache-inducing thoughts about time and the universe.


In a picture of a reflection, without context, there’s no difference between the reflection of an object versus the object itself. The copy and its copy are interchangeable, a thought bursting to be a metaphor about perception. It’s true that the reflective surface can bring a change in perspective through a variety of factors like distance, texture or shape, which would compound the metaphor further. If only it were that easy to change perspective and draw conclusions during self-reflection as well.


~ Part of the A to Z Challenge ~
A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Events always real, names always changed.

Cathartic Monkeyism returns in May.

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  1. I have a whole folder full of reflections photos, but I do love your thoughts, and I think your images are far beautifuller 🙂

  2. Paul · · Reply

    Ahhh, self-reflection – is that like the inside of a mirrored elevator where there are 100’s of me going off to infinity?I know a photography buff who is trying to take a picture of that and he finds that he cannot get focus. My guess is that we are refocusing each time our eyes flick to the next incarnation. What do you think GG?


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