Coco Chanel on the Stairs

Coco Chanel, hiding on a staircase to watch her own fashion show through a mirror, unaware of the photographer who watches her through another one. Frank Horvat, Paris, 1958


930x,3355-1-Coco-Chanel-aux-miroirs,Paris-195Coco Chanel aux miroir, Photos by Robert Doisneau, 1953


Coco Chanel at Rue Cambon. Cecil Beaton, circa 1965

Uncertainty Permits Everything

Who Am I, Duane Michals, 1970


Dr. Heisenberg’s Magic Mirror of Uncertainty, Duane Michals, 1998


“Odette can never be sure with any certainty which reflection of herself she will see in the mirror”. So the photographer Duane Michals tries to catch at least six images of her. A series of six pictures in which the model looks at herself in a huge mirror, the so called Dr. Heisenberg’s magic mirror. Michals, whose technique is to shoot series of photo, is used to handwrote text near his photographs, thereby giving information in order to reinforce the message and the creative idea that the image itself could not convey. And in this way he tells a story. The Odette’s story who tries to recognize herself in the mirror, but seeing new and unknown sides about her face, she discovers new dimensions about her. And even thought the uncertain may frighten, more over it unveils new sides about things. To be open to the unknown may offer wonders. As the author writes in the last image: “Uncertainty permits anything and everything”.

Broken Mirror

Juliette Gréco in Crack in the Mirror (Richard Fleischer, 1960)



“Le petit homme qui chantait sans cesse
le petit homme qui dansait dans ma tête
le petit homme de la jeunesse
a cassé son lacet de soulier
et toutes les baraques de la fête
tout d’un coup se sont écroulées
et dans le silence de cette fête
j’ai entendu ta voix heureuse
ta voix déchirée et fragile
enfantine et désolée
venant de loin et qui m’appelait
et j’ai mis ma main sur mon coeur
où remuaient
les septs éclats de glace de ton rire étoilé.”

Jacques Prévert




“That small man who always sang
That small man who danced in my head
That small man with youth
Undid his shoelaces
And broke all the barracks of the festival
Suddenly everything collapsed
And in the silence of the festival
In the ruin of the festival
I heard your happy voice
Your voice so torn and fragile
Innocent and desolate
Came from afar and called me
And I put my hands on my chest
where they trembled bloody
Seven broken pieces of mirror
with your twinkling smile.”

Picasso’s Promenade

Photograph by Chema Madoz


“On a very round plate of real porcelain
an apple poses
face to face with it
a painter of reality
vainly tries to paint
the apple as it is
the apple won’t allow it
the apple
it has its word to say about it
and several tricks in its bag of apples
and there it is turning
on its real plate
artfully on itself
blandly without budging
and like a Duc de Guise who disguises himself as a gas duct
because they want to draw his portrait against his will
the apple disguises itself as a beautiful fruit in disguise
and it’s then
that the painter of reality
begins to realize
that all the appearances of the apple are against him
like the unfortunate pauper
like the poor pauper who finds himself suddenly at the mercy
of no matter what benevolent and charitable and redoubtable
association of benevolence charity and redoubtability
the unfortunate painter of reality
then suddenly finds himself the sad prey
of a numberless crowd of associations of ideas
And the apple turning evokes the apple tree
the earthly Paradise and Eve and then Adam
a watering-can a trellis Parmentier a stairway
Canadian Hesperidian Norman apples Reinette apples and Appian apples
the serpent of the Tennis Court and the Oath of Apple Juice
and original sin
and the origins of art
and Switzerland with William Tell
and even Isaac Newton
several times prizewinner at the Exhibition of Universal Gravitation
and the dazed painter loses sight of his model
and falls asleep
It’s just then that Picasso
who’s going by there as he goes by everywhere
every day as if at home
sees the apple and the plate and the painter fallen asleep
What an idea to paint an apple
says Picasso
and Picasso eats the apple
and the apple tells him Thanks
and Picasso breaks the plate
and goes off smiling
and the painter drawn from his dreams
like a tooth
finds himself all alone again before his unfinished canvas
with right in the midst of his shattered china
the terrifying pips of reality.”

Jacques Prévert