Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

The Real Lady in the Water: The Amazon in ‘Sidesight’

You’re going to love this: photographer Demetri Dimas Efthyvoulos spent most of the 1980s in Iquitos, Peru–along the Amazon River–and one day as he was printing a photo of foliage he’d taken on a boat trip down the Amazon’s banks, a voice inside his head told him to turn the photograph sideways. So he did.

What emerged from the green–with the river running up and down–looked amazing. What was it? A head, or an entity, or a deity? Already a student of the region’s ceremonial and “visionary” plants, this photographer’s perspective instantly changed forever.


“Through a relatively simple change in point of view, all kinds of allegorical images, mythological beings, and totemlike entities emerge before the observer’s eyes,” he writes in the latest issue of Shaman’s Drum magazine. Unfortunately, Efthyvoulos’s only book of these photos, published abroad, is no longer available on We must content ourselves with his website,which contains a gallery of mind-bending “sidesight” photographs. Efthyvoulos draws this life lesson from the whole experience:

“If you don’t like what you see happening in the world around you, use sidesight to see if you can find innovative ways of revisioning the world. If we wait for someone else to change the world, or if we content ourselves with dreaming of a paradise to come, we may find ourselves stuck in a virtual hell on earth.”

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posted August 11, 2006 at 7:27 pm

This looks very much like the British “Green Man” diety of the forest and green places, as well as fertility and fecudity.>

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posted August 11, 2006 at 8:01 pm

I wonder if Efthyvoulos’s comment about using sidesight to revision the world, and our inability or reluctance to do so, helps explain why poverty, ignorance and war has such a foothold. After all, it’s eaier to say “it’s always been this way” than to imagine “what if”. I had a drawing teacher whose mantra was “re-vision, re-vision, re-vision” to prompt us to look at the world differently. She had one nauseating but instructive exercise that required us to draw what we saw in our peripheral vision. It was very hard to get the perspective right, and get the right perspective. Great life lesson! Today I use revisioning in my visual art, business brainstorming and (quite naturally) when mindmapping. Thanks or this image; unlike those “Magic Eye” pictures, I got it.>

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posted August 11, 2006 at 11:23 pm


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