Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall.... Who's that in the Arnolfini Portrait? Theme Thursday

It's time again for Theme Thursday and this week's theme is "Mirror."  Pop on over to Theme Thursday to see who else is participating this week.  There are some great writers over there!  But before you go, here's my offering...

Back in 1434, Jan van Eyck painted a picture of some newlyweds.  Little did the Arnolfinis know that while they were standing there forever, bored out of their minds posing for him, van Eyck was busy painting himself into the mirror in the background.  What a card!  I guess the joke was on them.

After all, it's not like today, where there are so many options for family portraits.  Cell phones, digital cameras... getting your picture taken only takes a second and it can be sent instantly to family and friends around the world.  Back then, only the very wealthy had portraits made of themselves.  It was the ultimate status symbol to have a family portrait done.

Even a hundred years ago, family portraits were fairly scarce.  My parents have a photo of the Larew clan back on the farm from the early 20th century.  Turns out the hired woman wanted to have a photo taken of herself as well.... so she hauled a chair out onto the porch roof to sit on while they were taking the photo of the family in front of the house.  Yep... she made her way into our family history by sneaking into the photo.

Me, I could care less about being in photos.  I barely like looking at myself in the mirror.  So while I have tons of pictures of Vlad and all my friends, I have very few of myself.  (Vlad's dad has a Master's degree in Photographic History, but I'm the one who took all the family photos.)  But a friend sent this to me a while back.  It's a picture of me from 40 years ago...

You know... from back in the old days.  But not quite as old as the Arnolfini portrait.  And there's no mirror image of the photographer reflected in the glass of the hearse, so no one was immortalized alongside me.  Guess they lost their chance to be famous!  Oh, well.  Maybe next time.
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