The Mirror Project

One of the more interactive assignments my documentary photo class had us do this spring was the Mirror Project. Its purpose: the get everyone to feel what it’s like to be a subject, on the other side of the lens.

Now, I’ve experienced the other side of the lens before, most recently at my wedding last October, but never like this. It’s a very different thing to have someone follow you around for a few hours, snapping away, while you go about your daily life and activities. A bit uncomfortable, really. I kept finding myself wondering what all the people around me were thinking, and I had to consciously keep myself from posing. But, I eventually got used to it, and by the time my partner was done, I really had forgotten she was there. The experience did give me newfound sympathy for the rich and famous and their paparazzi-riddled lives, though. AWKWARD.

Which brings me to my partner and the photos I took of her. We paired off in class, and it is fascinating how people are naturally drawn to each other, even for something like a homework assignment, because our class of fourteen broke into pairs very easily. I picked the only other curly-haired woman (hair brings people together more than you might think!), Autumn.

On a Saturday morning, Autumn and I met for coffee before I followed her through her morning, which mainly consisted of a haircut:

Observing and documenting a haircut is a fairly intimate experience. I was privy to the private discussions that exist solely between hairstylist and client, which included some very savory personal details which I will not share here.

The light in the salon was challenging, but I ended up with a few good shots. Being a very hip Cambridge establishment, the salon’s decor made for an exciting background. Autumn’s hairstylist, a self-proclaimed curl expert, invited me to call him the next time I’m in need of a trim, and I think I just might.

The owner of the salon is well-known as a bit particular, but the whole time I was shooting in her store, she didn’t say a word about it, which was a relief. Until, right when we were leaving and I was getting a picture of Autumn hugging her stylist goodbye, the owner very abruptly announced, “No photos in the salon!” and glared at me.

Um, it was a bit too late for that …

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