A mirror forms an integral part of our life. Be it an important interview, or a date with someone, or just a daily mundane routine of going to college or office, we got to have a mirror in front of us before we leave the room. Interestingly, a mirror never lies. It never flatters us. Nonetheless, we depend so much upon it. We have to see ourselves that one time before we appear in front of someone else even though the mirror can be cruel to us, showing us what we really are instead of false compliments.
Another aspect of mirror and humans is that we understand what a mirror is. We know about its function and mechanism. When we stand in front of it, we do not perceive the image in front of us as our doppelgänger. No! We have the knowledge that the image is the reflection of our physique and personality.
However, try and imagine an animal in front of a mirror. How would it react? Will it understand the mechanism of a mirror, and the formation of the image in front of itself. And, that’s where we have an experimental photographer- Xavier Hubert-Brierre with his experiment. He is a French artist who along with his wife decided to travel to different wildlife areas to catch the glimpses of the animals’ reactions in front of a mirror. He opted Gabon in Central Africa for his experiment. The place is known for its vast parkland and forested coastal terrain. It has a huge wildlife diversity in its national parks.
We may have seen many animals playing with their reflections in the water bodies. For instances, the elephants playing in the short pool of water, the deer, lions, foxes, etc. usually get attracted to their images formed in the water bodies. But this experiment is different. Here the photographer has established a real and a giant mirror in front of them which is not a rippled reflection in any water body. The mirror is static and placed promptly in Gabon forestland.
Xavier and his wife set up the mirror at a favourable position (where the animals travel the most in the area). Obviously, they set up a camera too so that they could capture the reactions of the animals after seeing their images in the mirror. And, what they get in the return is hilarious.
The elephants, as their nature is, seem quite confused as well as surprised too. Their reactions are hard to read. Albeit the leopards emerge as the showstopper of this study. Their reactions are very funny and amusing to watch. On the other hand, we have the gorillas who appear to be the most intelligent ones in the batch. They give confused reaction for some time, however, after a few minutes, their reactions show that they have the closest understanding of the mirror.
So, it is wacky to observe the amusing reactions of the animals to something as common as the mirror. What’s normal for us stands as an experiment for them. Interesting, isn’t it?