A picture of someone looking into a mirror

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Your mirror image is pointing in the opposite direction to you. Point upwards. You both point in the same direction. Now stand sideways on to the mirror and repeat. You are now pointing in opposite directions when you point sideways. Place the mirror on the floor and stand on it.

This time you point in opposite directions when you point upwards and your upside down image points downwards. In all cases the direction reverses only when you point towards or away from the mirror.

Man in mirror

The answer stems from the fact that a reflection is not the same as a rotation. Our bodies have a strong left-right symmetry, and we try to interpret the reflection as a rotation about a central vertical axis. Such a rotation would put the head and feet where we expect them, but leaves the left and right sides of the body on opposite sides to where they appear in the reflection.

But if instead we imagine the world to have been rotated about a horizontal axis running across the mirror, this would leave you standing on your head, but would keep the left and right sides of your body in the expected positions.

So whether you see the image as left-right inverted or top-bottom inverted, or for that matter inverted about any other axis, depends upon which axis you unconsciously and erroneously imagine the world has been rotated about. If you lie on the floor in front of a mirror you can observe both effects at once. The room appears left-right reflected about its vertical axis, while you interpret your body as being left-right reflected about a horizontal axis running from head to foot.

My mirrors don't reverse anything, each section of mirror simply reflects what is directly in front of it.

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Hence whatever is on my right as I look into the mirror will be on the right in the mirror. Nothing's been reversed it's just a reflection, that's all. Seth, Edinburgh UK Lie on your side and look in a mirror. Now what sort of reversal is it? A mirror image is not left-right reversal, it is simply a mirror image. David Pearce, Birmingham UK If you want to understand mirrors then it's helpful to read a fascinating article in the February edition of Scientific American page The subject is not mirrors, it doesn't even mention them, but it explains the confusion.

How can mirrors reverse the horizontal axes but not the vertical? It is not just in England that they appear to perform this remarkable trick; the same happens in almost all countries. Almost all.

Mirror Reflection Stock Photos And Images - RF

There is a small part of Australia where the reversal does not occur. The article I mentioned is about the peculiarities of languages and their influence on perception. For example some have no words for past or future, others have no words for large numbers. The native language in that part of Australia has no words for left or right - that is, it has no local axes.

Instead all references are global: North, South, East or West. So you have to say things like "The cup is South of the plate".

Now travel there and look in a mirror. Raise your North hand. The image raises its North hand. Raise your South hand The mirror has no horizontal reversal.

It is a peculiarity of English that we use global axes to describe large objects, like countries, but local axes for small objects like those in a room. A mirror works in global axes but we relate to it as a small object. So we correctly interpret its vertical properties up and down are the same in both systems but we misunderstand it horizontally. Hence the bizarre properties of mirrors are not caused by physics - they are caused by language. Finally the question has arisen due to the fact that since human can only walk on earth ,there imagination does not permit them to fly to the back of the mirror.

Follow these steps, spread your arms horizontally in front of a mirror. At both extremes, the lens plays weird—and potentially ugli-fying tricks. A wide angle lens does as its name suggests, capturing an image spread over a wide angle. The field of view in a wide-angle shot is wide—wider than that of your own eyes.

Mirror Image Agnosia

In pulling this off, some lenses create a sort of fisheye effect, which can bloat subjects in the middle, and stretch those on the outside. This, however, is instantly recognizable, and probably won't cause too much anxiety. In other words, If the shot looks like a still from an episode of Jackass , you probably shouldn't let it figure into your self-image too much.

But there's a subtler effect of wide lenses called wide-angle distortion: Since the field of view is super-wide, objects close to the camera will seem large, while objects just a bit further away will seem very small. Here's a scene from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels that illustrates the effect, starting a NSFW, sorta. The net effect is an illusion of size, both width and height. Subtle, sure, but it's there. Telephoto lenses are usually seen as more flattering, giving the impression that the subject is flattened, and slightly compressing the width of your foremost features, like your nose or breasts.

So you might want to think twice before fleeing the pesky paparazzi and their fancy zoom lenses; it's the tourist with the pocket cam whose snaps will make you look fat on the Internet. Lens distortion isn't the only way a camera can screw with your visage. Flash illuminates subjects harshly, turning elegant faces normally accented by soft shadows into a flat, shadowless, cadaveric horror shows. Whether these effects are annoying or used to advantage, they mean that what you see in photos is different than what you see in the mirror.

I don't mean to imply that the camera is the only liar, here, because mirrors are just as guilty. For one, they flip your image. Home Other Feature Post. Why you look ugly in photos — and some ways to solve it by Tibi Puiu. July 8, - Updated on February 12, Contents 1 A window into a flat world 2 Flash ruins everything 3 The fake smile 4 The instant shot 5 Do photos surprise reality?

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