Young Lady or Old Lady

young lady optical illusion

The image above was what inspired me to create the updated image below. It was one of the first optical illusions I remember ever seeing, in one of my own mother’s psychology books when I was just a child. Do you see both the old woman and the young woman? The old woman’s mouth is the young woman’s necklace. The old woman’s nose is the young woman’s chin. They share their hair, the scarf, the fur coat and the feather in their hair. This is a classic eye trick that has appeared in psychology books for years as a classic example of an optical illusion!

What you’ll find is that it is extremely difficult to see both faces at the same time. Sure, you can know exactly where each of the facial features are, but just try to see both at the same time! It doesn’t work! The way your brain works, you can only interpret it as one object at a time – either the young woman or the old lady!

When I created the following image, I wanted to capture that as we’re young, we gaze into the future and imagine the great things to come. We sometimes wish that tomorrow would just get here so quickly! Then, as we get older, we look back to our youth for the “good ol’ days” and how much we’d give to have that youth again. That’s why I wanted to show it as a reflection of a woman looking into a mirror. Is it the older woman looking into the mirror to see herself when she was years younger? Or is it, in fact, the younger woman looking into the mirror and imagining what she’ll become.

Young woman or old woman?
Young woman looking into mirror.