Irvin Rivera – The project was inspired by a random conversation I had with friends about self-love. We had a fun discussion about what would happen if you can actually make-out with yourself in front of the mirror and if you would actually do it or not. The answers started out funny.
Some thought of it as a fun idea, others said that it was gross. Then the discussion evolved and went to the various different layers of love and self-love.
Days later I decided to start a portrait project of people making out with themselves in front of the mirror. I have no idea what to expect. I started using a small 11.5” x 11.5” square Ikea mirror with my subjects’ faces. I gave them the freedom to express their “self-love” in their own way as I surreptitiously find angles and photograph them as if I am not there.
Most of the shoots are done at my home studio. I shoot with my old Nikon D7000 with one light to create that very intimate high contrast dramatic effect. I rarely do crazy post-processing on the images because I want to keep the raw and authentic feel to them. Sometimes I would zoom in real close to get a focus of specific body parts.
I intend the project to be a continuous portrait project. I plan to do an exhibition out of this and possibly publish a series of books as well, granted that I get the proper funding.
This has been such an intimate learning experience for me and all of my subjects. The readings, the interpretations, and the layers of meanings that we discover upon each session are golden.
For instance, we observed that girls are more comfortable doing this to themselves than guys. Also, some people pointed out that it makes them feel uncomfortable (looking at themselves in front of the mirror) because for them, you don’t really look at your eyes directly when you look to the mirror on a day to day basis. You normally look at your hair, your face, your clothes, your body, etc but rarely through your eyes.
There is also a layer of homophobia that came out. Some people that I approached for the project became hesitant because they don’t want to look “gay.”
As I get more people volunteering to be a part of it, I get more interesting commentaries about the project. [Official Website]