All images by Tom Hussey. Used under a Creative Commons License.
Tom Hussey is an advertising and portrait photographer who created a series of highly conceptual photographs titled “Reflections”, showing elderly people looking pensively at their younger self reflection in a mirror. This photography project was originally made for a new Norvatis drug called Exelon Patch which is a prescription medicine for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia, and has won the Communication Arts Photography Annual 2010 award.
Tom was inspired by a World War II veteran who said, “I can’t believe I am going to be 80, I feel like I just came back from the war. I look into the mirror and I see this old guy.” Human life is both beautiful and fragile, hence dealing with this theme by tying together the prime years to the aged present life in a single photograph which is both melancholic and contemplative.
Tom adopted the environmental portrait photography approach which is effective in showing his elderly subjects in their most natural surroundings while completing their daily, mundane tasks. The wide angle perspective encourages the viewers to roam freely and explore the location established within the frame, which provides a strong sense of reality in the present time. This was starkly contrasted by the careful placement of a reflection in a mirror showing attractive, younger versions of the men and women staring back at them: as if the elderly subjects were reminiscing their past lives.
The most critical part in the photographs were the eyes of the younger and older selves looking at each other, and to emphasize this Tom has shot his images at the same eye level of his subjects. The resulting juxtaposition of young versus old, past versus present, and reality versus mirror reflection are the loud recurring themes played throughout this photo series, which is both beautiful and evocative at the same time.
You may check out more of Tom Hussey’s amazing photography work here.