Recently, I came across Edward Burne Jones’ painting “The Mirror of Venus”, and it stopped me in my tracks. Immediately, it’s relevancy to today’s world jumped out at me. Here was a painting of Venus at a pool of water surrounded by maidens gazing at their reflections. Much has been written about the meaning in this painting – is it scrutiny, is it envy, vanity, or acceptance and happiness with one’s self that draws their eyes to the water?
Today, that pool of water is often replaced by the internet. I won’t get into a long post on social media and how we’ve come to view each other through it. The question that came to my mind was, what do you really see when you look at yourself? Is it different than what you put online? And as women, what do we teach girls about how to view themselves – when they watch what we do? I’d rather pose the questions that answer them here…
I asked a group of friends to join me for this photo, some actresses, some not, ages 8 to 59, some mothers, some career women, one in elementary school… I asked them to wear clothes from their own closet and no more make-up than usual, if at all. I added a young girl to the far right (still more interested in the flowers and bugs than her own reflection). – And to the left, Venus is looking at you, inviting you to the pool, to look and see, and be honest.
Many thanks to my Venus and her maidens, from left to right: Nesheen Parris-Murrell, Linda Latona, Jessi Cerrato, Wendy Rutherford Gardner, Rachel Oliveira, Sam Coley, JoAnn Sheppe, and Alexa Sheppe.