Have you ever looked in the a photo and thought you just didn’t look quite right?  Sure maybe you were off your game, or sure maybe it was a bad shot, but there’s a reason why a photograph of us always seems to have a problem.

The short answer to this question is mirrors.  How are mirrors related to photographs you ask?  Well mirrors have a special property.  They don’t have a particular property; mirrors don’t absorb much light but rather reflect all pigments of light in a single direction.  That’s why when we look in a mirror it looks just like you.

However, mirrors don’t actually portray us perfectly; it has one major difference.  Mirrors flip images on their y axis so that we see ourselves in reverse.  That’s why text in mirrors are always backwards.  So why does this matter?  Since we see ourselves in the mirror everyday, we are seeing ourselves flipped, making us prefer our flipped self image. So when we see a photograph of ourselves, we see ourselves non-flipped, something we are not normally used to seeing everyday.

Its ironic in a way, we prefer to see ourselves flipped, not how we really look.  So the next time you see yourself in a picture and cringe, know that its just a preference in the brain built over time.


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