Andre Kertesz, “Distortion #51, 1932,” Favorite Photographs 2013, #8

In 1932 photographer Andre Kertesz created a collection of images mostly of nudes placed in front of a warped “Circus Mirror.”  The results are fabulous, and the real problem is picking just one favorite.  I have chosen for this year’s list “Distortion #51.”  I think that my reason for making this choice is that it reminds me so much of Edvard Munch’s (1893-1944) famous 1893 painting “The Scream.

For me experiencing this photograph begins with remembrances of the “funny house” at a carnival or circus.  But it morphs away from mere remembrance.  Even standing in front of one of these mirrors creates ambiguity in your mind about what reality is.  You start to realize how fragile your self image is, how easily distorted.  Then there is the figure inside the mirror, your true self, screaming in desperate terror and frustration begging to be recognized.  All of this is but a fleeting moment ’til you return to your comfortable sense of “undistorted” self.


This entry was posted in Essays on Photography, Reviews and Critiques.

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  1. […] Consider, for instance, the mirror distortion photographs that we have previously discussed by Andre Kertesz.  Once again such an image of a nude woman distorted in a circus mirror is immediately […]