Left Face, Right Face

Check this out and tell me what you think: Left Face, Right Face. It’s a little experiment with the apparent effect of the sides of the brain on the features of faces of celebrities, politicians, and the like. I only have four cases up so far (Tony Blair, Robert Deniro, Bob Dylan, and Dick Cheney), but the results are interesting in a couple of cases. I really like to know what you think, and if you’d like to see some more examples. Thanks!

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  1. I’d love to see more of these. The image of Tony Blair is particularly chilling!

  2. Thanks, Lisa

    I’ll post some more after a while.

  3. This is facinating. There is research showing people find symmetrical faces attractive. Thus, Jessica Parker, who is not beautiful in a Barbiedoll way is considered a beauty, and indeed we can see in this experiment how symmetrical her face is. Cheney is often portrayed as monstrously twisted and indeed his symmetry is way off. I would not jump to the conclusion that the symetrical are morally, spiritualy or mentally superior to the asymetric, though.
    DeNiro is also asymetyrical, but half of him is smiling.
    A picture of Cheney smiling would be very hard to find, I’d imagine.

  4. Thanks for your e-mail, Linda. You’ve inspired me to add a couple more (Gwyneth Paltrow and Johnny Depp). Paltrow has an unusually symmetrical face, but there is still a difference between left and right.

    Of course, lighting and perspective have a strong effect on this exercise.

  5. This stuff is so interesting, great job.

  6. I love this stuff! I have always noticed people’s facial symmetry and often comment on it. People usually act surprised when I explain it to them…..I always notice symmetry from the back of the head as well – people’s ears are often very different than each other. Size, shape and position. Wonder if it holds true for the animal world as well. Can’t wait to see more!

  7. Thanks Cyndi. As a matter of fact, I just posted an interesting new example (scheduled to go live tomorrow morning).

  8. Unless the original photo is a dead-on full face (such as Paltrow), the derived images are more hilarious than instructive (e.g. De Niro, Blair).

  9. Ray, it’s quite true that a lot is the result of the photography (angle, lighting, etc.) and not the face itself.

    Still, the exercise amuses me.

  10. Another problem is defining a central axis, which is really difficult to establish with an asymmetric face. The obvious landmarks such as the bridge of the nose, the cleft of the chin, or the midpoint between the eyes are all going to be somewhat skewed on a crooked face, tracing a zigzag. In fact the “central axis” may be more a matter of strategic choice than a physical fact . Just a thought.

  11. True enough, but the thing is it doesn’t really matter. The exercise is not some kind of scientific study where the two “halves” must be exactly equal to produce some kind of valid result. Think of it instead simply as a means of isolating a portion of a face. Mirroring that portion helps to visualize its qualities. Comparing right and left portions is interesting because of the bicameral quality of the brain and the peculiarities of human bilaterality.

  12. Nanette Dupre

    I like the images and the impulse behind the study. I remember, about 20 years ago, reading that asymmetrical (non-symmetrical) faces were indicative of people with more intuitive and even psychic abilities. That would be really hard to establish in a scientific study! Historically, though, it seems that the definition of beauty is changing. It seems that the standard of beauty is moving TOWARD symmetry and AWAY from the more imperfect asymmetrical face, which was considered a mark of the individual’s character.

  13. gemma

    Hi.. good job! can i post these images in my blog? i’ll give u credits for it..=)

  14. Hi Gemma. Sure, post away. — Tom

  15. Hi Xensen, im very much interested in this study of both different sides of faces.
    Please do create more and more same examples if possible.
    I thank you very much.

    Your Sincerely,

  16. About 25 years ago, during some (what I thought) was original work, I use a simple (480 by 640) tube style camera connected to video capture computer interface card. As I experimented I too began to capture, first my own image, then family members (face on) then available images from the other sources: like newspaper and magazine photos. After a while the points you made about image angle and lack of any other support for this effort, I simple let it go. Glad to see someone is now seeing the value and maybe a real service from these efforts.