Every time he saw a photograph of his own face, he felt self-conscious. He didn’t know how to describe the feeling exactly; in fact he still doesn’t know that. But he was sure of one thing: he had to see them all He wasn’t worried about the photographs in his possession, they’d been properly classified and archived. It was worse with those taken by others, they got away from him all the time - regardless of whether they’d been taken by his friend, who’d just brought them freshly printed from the photo lab, or were displayed on the small backlit monitor of a stranger’s digital camera. He looked for any excuse to look at photographs of himself. Especially those that included his face. He could not get rid of the urge to examine the coloured grains or pixels. He was aware that at such moments he could be accused of narcissism – after all, if we see someone staring fixedly at their own portrait we consider it suspect - but he saw something entirely different in the act: the opportunity to find the key to who he was. Yet he was not dumb enough to think that he could actually discover his own self through a photograph; he sought something else: to find out who he was in the eyes of others.
He opened the folder with the photographs he’d downloaded onto his computer just a moment ago… his girlfriend’s birthday celebration… mostly pictures of him and his friends… he looked at the familiar faces… one after the other… at length and carelessly… his gaze slid down to the eyes… or, to be more precise, to the two black pupils in the centre of variously coloured irises… again and again he tried to focus on whole persons and on recollections from the previous evening… in vain… all he could perceive were the same two dots in the middle of variously shaped faces… he was fascinated by them… he imagined what it might be like to be in the space behind them… he thought about whether at some time in the future he would have the opportunity to take a look there… and whether he would even want to… again and again he looked at the eyes in the photographs.