Monday, 28 October 2013

My 40 Year Old Face | Is There Beauty In Symmetry?

Is there beauty in symmetry?
This post is essentially two things: 1. A follow-up to the much-read post My 40 Year Old Face, Uber Photoshopped (though I am 41 now), and 2. A study in facial symmetry, and probably scaring the living daylights out of you. It still scares me, even though it IS me.

Now that you've hopefully stopped with the "Whoah, what is that?!", I can explain the technique I used to carry out this experiment, which addresses the theory that symmetrical faces are more beautiful. I'm not the first person to create images this way - since seeing it done by photographer Julian Wolkenstein, I've been wanting to photograph my own face and see how it would look in perfect symmetry.


So how exactly are these strange portraits created?


Not Dressed As Lamb
You take a standard portraits of yourself (as above) and create two symmetrical images - one using the right side of your face mirrored, and another using the left. The GIF below shows my face scrolling between the original, the right mirror image, and the left mirror image.

Photoshopped symmetrical face
The right side duplicated (my right side)

Photoshopped symmetrical face
The left side duplicated (my left side)

It is quite frankly bizarre, fascinating and totally FREAKY all at the same time. I did this experiment a while ago and the results were so frightening I was more than a little hesitant to share them with you. The mirrored right side looks like a creepy, thin alien girl, and the left... Oh, the left. I look like Sandra Bullock on steroids, masquerading as an Olympic shotputter. Not a good look.

I look like Sandra Bullock on steroids

I took the original at the same time I shot the photos for my How To Star In Your Very Own Luxury Brand Advertising Campaign post - I was purposely wearing a lot of contouring make up for that project, so I think it's interesting how the very thing that's supposed to enhance your features does nothing to improve the freakish creatures that have resulted. I was horrified when a few clicks of the mouse joined each side with its mirror image, and revealed that I have an uneven jawline, huge differences in each side of my neck, a mouth that's not in line with my nose and one eyebrow higher than the other.


But you know what? I'm sure you're already thinking this, but as with the result of Part One of my Photoshopped face experiment, the "new and improved" version(s) of my face are so much less appealing than the original. (One thing to note: apart from the mirror imaging, I have not Photoshopped my face in any way - so you get to see it completely untouched by the airbrush, pores and all. No amount of make up can prevent the glare of a ring flash that bright, so my face isn't oily, it's reflecting really bright light. In other words, no foundation is as good as it appears in the adverts.)

Take comfort in the fact that our real faces are more appealing

If you have a perfectly symmetrical face to begin with, then maybe this experiment would simply prove that symmetry is more attractive - I'd have to see the results from symmetrical portraits created of someone with such a "perfect" face. Otherwise the 99.9% of us that have asymmetrical faces can take comfort in the fact that our real faces, with all their imperfections, are more appealing than the enhanced versions.


So - beauty in symmetry? Not in my case, that's for sure...!

Catherine x
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24 comments

  1. Wow. That is seriously wrong. You are much more beautiful in your normal state. You are so brave to do these things for us.

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    1. Haha it IS so wrong, isn't it?!! Thank you hun xox

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  2. You are a beautiful woman without any (could that be?) symmetries ! It is interesting to see that.
    Have a nice day.

    greetings martina.

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  3. Omg this is fascinating. Maybe I'll try it on Halloween lol x

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  4. I agree you are beautiful without any symmetries. I will turn 41 in a week, and actually got carded at a wine tasting recently. I enjoy your blog posts. I have a blog that I just recently started, http://enjoyinglifeat40.blogspot.com/ and would like for you to follow me.

    Blessings,
    Donna

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  5. You look great honey, I wouldn't worry about the silly symetrical pictures. I have one brow high than the other too
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx

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  6. I have to agree -- you as YOU are definitely more appealing, and there is no need to ever photoshop! You are gorgeous! Love the "sandra bullock" on steroids description. So apt :)

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    1. Hehe that was immediately what I thought when I saw the er, "beefy" me ;)

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  7. Fun read! You are beautiful, no photo shop needed! BTW, I love your blog! I am learning so many photography tricks from reading your photo tips. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise! 'xo,
    Monica
    Glamvolution.blogspot.com

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    1. Aww Monica thank you so much! Glad to be of help...! C xx

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  8. This is so interesting Catherine, I've often thought I would look like a total freak if I tried this experiment, as one of my eyes (and therefore eyebrows)is considerably higher than the other. I only notice it when I'm applying eyeshadow as I can't do exactly the same eye shadow on each. But I'm all for physical I perfections, I love the quirkiness of the different features on everyone's faces. It's a good experiment to show that you're beautiful the way u are! X

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    1. Goes to show that we'd be more freakish if we were the "perfect" version of ourselves we think we want to be, Trea! Thank you x

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  9. fascinating, Catherine! I am very asymmetric but I don't "see" it on any given day. xox

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  10. Wow! What a fascinating post. The thing that threw me off was the neck size. It makes a big difference. You are so techno wizard I always appreciate this side of things. You are also gorgeous-asymmetry and beauty together. Fab Post!
    xx, Heather

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  11. This was such an interesting post to first see on your blog! Clever - but kind scary at the same time - thank god we aren't symmetrical!

    p.s. i met you yesterday at the nbn workshop - was lovely to meet you! :) thought i'd come check out your blog!

    good luck with it all :)

    Mollie :)
    molliebylett.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thanks Mollie - it was lovely to meet you too! Good luck with all your endeavours - I'll pop over and say hello :)

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  12. Yea, I must say it's pretty scary but it's the truth. We all have our imperfection. God didn't make us perfect. We are all beautiful in our own way =)

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  13. Interesting how very different your sides are but together they are "naturally perfect" .

    Annette | Lady of Style

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  14. Yup, definitely asymmetry all the way! You look like your face is quite symmetrical anyway, so it's interesting to see how different the sides actually are.

    I'm very asymmetrical - one eye is about half as wide open at the other which looks a bit odd in some photos.

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  15. Wow - that's quite a surprise that it makes so much of a difference. Definitely agree your normal face is perfect the way it is. Interesting though as doing something like this often helps us realize what we have is better than we may think ! Thanks for sharing

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  16. Scary !!!!!
    And it is not only your face that is better in real life. People see the whole package, you, your character everything. That is the impression they get. Not just your face, or your outfit.
    Greetje

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  17. Hi! My neck is very similar to yours in that it is kinda tilted to one side. We don't have a mild case of wry neck or torticollis do we? D: Because I have a crossbite and my jaw is slightly shifted in the opposite direction of the slight neck tilt and maybe its the neck tilt , body asymmetry that caused it? Sorry, if I'm scaring you right now... I'm sure we're fine haha but I was just curious if you know anything about that. Oh, and you're very pretty by the way! Thanks. Mike

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