The Weird and Wonderful Things Reflected in Mirrors on Craigslist
People sell everything on Craigslist. Name it, and there’s probably at least one listed for sale right now. But Eric Oglander is especially interested in the mirrors you find on Craigslist. Well, not the mirrors, but the sometimes beautiful and occasionally bizarre things reflected in them.
You notice these kinds of things when you spend a “ridiculous amount of time” on Craigslist. The Brooklyn artist has been browsing the site since 2005, keeping an eye on bicycles and other items he can sell for a profit on eBay. Spend enough hours on Craigslist and you’ll see strange things, like the woman whose listing for a bedroom set included a photo of the bed with five cats on it.
Oglander’s interest in mirrors started in late 2013 when he spotted a listing for a round security mirror with two ghostly men reflected in it. He found the juxtaposition so curious that he started combing Craigslist for photos of mirrors with other unique reflections. He’s since collected more than 3,000 and regularly posts them to his Instagram and Tumblr.
mirrors, TBWBooks, 2016.
He finds mirrors particularly interesting because the reflection is a “challenge” to those shooting it. “People are constantly trying to evade the reflection,” he says. “I think that’s often why it’s brought outside and is reflecting the sky or woods because they don’t want the inside of their home to be photographed.”
It’s fun to see what people don’t see, or don’t think about, when they post the photos. A man with a prosthetic leg. A dog mesmerized by its reflection. A creepy person in a white sheet. Not every image is odd; sometimes they are beautiful, showing a clear blue sky or peaceful farmyard. Almost all are posted with few details beyond the price. And in most cases, the background is entirely unintentional. “I’m interested in the lack of attention in the photographs,” Oglander says. “These people as far as I’m aware have absolutely zero interest in creating a beautiful image and unbeknownst to them, these photos are so striking.”
Oglander’s Craigslist Mirrors became a viral sensation almost immediately, something he still finds astonishing. He’s up to around 15,000 followers on Instagram and another 60,000 on Tumblr, and is about to publish a photo book with TBW Books. You might scoff, but the project is refreshing in its simplicity. “I’m so amazed by the unintentional beauty that’s captured in these photographs. That’s really it,” he says. “I don’t have a deep-seated theory behind these photos and why I look for them. But I think they’re special. If you get it, cool. If you not, then it’s not for you.”