Optical illusions are great tools that are fun ways to question what we see. This photograph has people scratching their heads and wondering, just how many girls are pictured in the image? The clever use of angle, positioning and outfits make this picture more than it appears on the surface.

A Swiss photographer posted the picture to Instagram. She posted a picture in March of 2016 that shows a line of girls sitting down, looking at their reflections. However, the perspective makes it difficult to tell how many individuals there are, and how many are reflections. There are mirrors on both sides of the picture that Tiziana Vergari took, apparently.

The picture is title “same, but different.” You can see the original post here .

It was posted as part of Instagram’s hashtag project. Users were encourage to create images based on a certain hashtag. The topic was #whpidentity, and the theme was to celebrate individuality. The different reflections of the girls show how one person can be perceived in many different ways, making each reflection a unique identity.

However, social media has blasted off with the image. Some people say there are 3,4, 5 or even 13 girls in the picture. If you count all of the girls in a row, it is 13. However, some people believe that it is sets of multiples. Others only see two girls.[2]

Certain people think that the girls could be triplets or twins, with similar looking facial features that makes them look like the same person.

Thousands of people have commented on the picture, debating how many girls are depicted. [3]

Commenters have varying opinions on how many girls the picture depicts. “There’s clearly four. Look at how the reflections are. If you see their face, the mirror shows the back of their head. If you see the back of the head, the mirror shows the face. The girls just look similar.”

One Instagram user wrote, “What is the answer? It’s been driving me crazy.”

One person who commented speculated on why there were six in the image, “I see six girls when you look at the bracelets.”

Another commenter was sure they had the answer, and said, “There are two. Look at the pattern on the first girl’s right shoulder and is repeated perfectly on every iteration that she appears. As for the girl’s bracelet…You just can’t see it because her arm is covered up lmfao “

The photographer eventually cleared up the confusion, and said there were two girls in the picture. It is believed that they are her daughters. She posed them in front of a mirror, and took the picture.

This image has reached internet fame status, and it is up there with famous pictures such as “The Dress.” Almost everyone has seen it, and I’m sure the photographer was not expecting her contribution to the Instagram project to reach such superstardom status.

The picture qualified for the final round of the Shorty awards because of its popularity and influence on the algorithms.

References:

  • The Internet can’t work out how many girls are in this Instagram photo,  Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN, March 18, 2016
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