To look at a lens from without is actually to see oneself through a lens. But a lens is not a mirror; it offers back nothing tangible to that which it absorbs, no reflection, no residue of its process is apparent in the thing itself. Its function, however, is well known - maybe not in all of its technical specificity, but at least in a practical sense: the gathering of visual information, the condensing of a 3-dimensional field of light onto a flat plane for processing or storage. But to look at a lens or camera, to look at that which makes an image, has little to do with the apparatus of image making; to feel the camera’s gaze is actually to return the gaze, that is, to gaze back at oneself. Not the self offered by a mirror, or a standing pool of water; not the image of a voice reflected back by the contours of a mountain valley. This is a mediated self, it is THE mediated self, a self mediated by what our perception of ourself is to ourself; or, more, the self that we think others perceive as what we think ourself is to ourself. It is an awareness, a being-looked-at that folds in on itself from without, a crisply myopic loop of nested layers of abstraction, the personality as perceived by the person’s personality. This, the camera’s gaze, leads to a flattening of the self: a single side is elongated, stretched, pruned, polished, and propped up as a landmark, a point of reference, an intelligent rotating billboard that always obscures its supporting structure. It is the welcome mat, the surface, or better, a surface from a fixed perspective, a field of view densely populated with countless variations of a single face of a many-sided polygon, an orthographic projection of the self onto the self by the self. This type of self, the one projected outward toward the camera, the one the camera, through its own act of seeing, transposes onto the surface of the self that is projecting, this is an image. An image created by the awareness that an image is being created.