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WHAT IS BEAUTY?


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MEDIA

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REFERENCES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CONCLUSION

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IMAGES

- 10

13

17 - 18

14 - 16

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11 - 12

7

3 - 6

INSPIRATION

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-- 1- 2

INTRODUCTION

c o n t e n t s


I

N

R

T ‘Facial

of

the

O

U

C

symmetry

is

one

best

observational

indicators of good genes and healthy development. These traits are what we

mean

when

we

say

someone

is

attractive’ (Little, A. C. & Jones, B. C, 2003). We as humans are hardwired to process symmetric stimuli more

easily

and

the

association

the

more

therefore in

our

symmetrical

create

minds

your

that

face

is

the more attractive you are (Hole, G

&

Bourne,

V,

2010).

This

then

challenges the question of ‘What is Beauty?’ Are we as humans only able to

process

Rhodes

symmetry

(1998),

as

found

beautiful?

symmetry

is

often confounded with averageness, because

average

symmetrical.

faces

This

are

then

fairly

confronts

whether can we as humans look beyond the

average

and

process

asymmetry

as beautiful? ‘A persons ability to detect symmetry- an attractive traitdoes not predict how much they prefer it’ (Little, A. C. & Jones, B. C,

1

T

I

O

N


2003). Considering both studies, we wanted to challenge these ideals and explore whether symmetrical faces are a surreal expectation and can natural asymmetry possibly prove to be what beauty is as it is what makes us all unique. Using our selves as models we gained inspiration from various artists, such as Sebastian Bieniek and Roman Saksvich, and played with the notion of our own identities to create a set of images. Throughout this

exploration

beauty

we

into

intended

to

defining

investigate

the things that make us distinctive, what is to be said of left and right brain

dominance

and

questioning

whether we consider ourselves more beautiful

FIG 1

2

with

symmetrical

faces.

I


I

N

S

P

I

R

A

attractiveness

O

N

should commend our asymmetric

The link between symmetry and

I

T

features.

derives

Hole

&

Bourne

from studies that show we as

(2010)

humans can process symmetrical

might simply have arisen as a

stimuli

and

natural consequence of having

with

paired sensory organs on the

more

therefor beauty V, to

easily

associate (Hole,

2010).

G

this &

When

facial

head.

Bourne,

it

it

there are reasons to believe

how

that

in

features

and

symmetry

Averageness

considered

comes

attractiveness,

specific

believed

might

could

attractive, be

faces memory.

a

Average

close

guide our assessment of beauty

in

multidimensional

(Landau, 2012). Faces that are

space.

more

encountered

based

symmetrical

looking

tend

to

and be

factors

average rated

non-average

as

G

more attractive in scientific studies,

consequently

resulting is

in

symmetry

us

questioning

just

another

word for dull? This triggered inspiration for us to explore whether

we

could

show

They

that

symmetry is an unnatural and surreal idea of beauty and we

3

&

to

the

are more

faces ‘norm’ face

therefore often

faces

Bourne,

of

represented

are

biologically

as

byproduct

are

be

V,

than

(Hole, 2010).


Progressing

the

manipulating

the

and

symmetrical

idea human

of face

theories

of

FIG 2

beauty, we were inspired by the

work

artist

of

Berlin-based

Sebastian

Bieniek.

The collection ‘doublefaced’ exposes faced

the

life

female

routine.

Her

distorted pencil

and

lips

a

her

face

using

and

of

twodaily

has

been

eyeliner stick

to

construct two faces (See fig 2 & 3). Visibly inspired by the style of Picasso, Beiniek draws on alternate faces on their heads using parts of the features, commonly their eyes, to create strange, mismatched portraits, image

resulting

that

is

in

an

undeniably

striking. The visual effects are

surprisingly

effective

given the basic use of drawing on

the

side

of

the

models

face. We were intrigued by the illustrative sensibility and

4


abnormality that shocks you as the viewer when looking at the images. Predominantly inspired by the way Bienieck plays

with

the

curves

construction

of

and

of

the

twist

idea

to

the

portrait,

we

the

and face

putting

a

With

traditional wanted

the

concept

of

symmetric versus asymmetric

to

in

our

concentrations,

we

develop these stimulations

discovered the photographer

further

Roman

into

our

own

Saksvich

and

his

photoshoot, playing on the

project

idea of mirrored beauty and

project was inspired by the

twisting

experiences

the

traditional

‘Half’. of

The

Saksvich’s

portrait to create surreal

own friends, which we felt

but

gave the project more depth

effective

images

that

reflect the notion of beauty.

and

pushes

the

viewer

to

have more empathy with the images.

In

the

photographs, on in

the

series

he

focused

dramatic

appearance

undergoes

change

that

while

of

person

addicted

to crystal meth. The before and after approach shows the Jekyll the

and

Hyde

psychoactive

nature drug

of has

on it’s users (Brookes. K, 2012).

Just

Saksvich approach

FIG 3 FIG 3

5

like

used and

Bieniek, hands

on

created

the


visual

effects

manually

through make-up and costume design, which we felt created an authenticity feel to the images (see Fig 4 & 5). From looking at Saksvich’s work, we the

wanted half

technique shoot

as

consider symmetry however

to and

incorporated half

into we the

mirrored

our

felt

we

idea

true

photocould

of

‘Is

beauty?’,

Saksvich

concept

of gaining inspiration from friends

stimulated

us

to

consider using ourselves as models so we could each take a personal journey to discover ‘what is beauty?’ as well as creating more personal depth.

FIG 4

FIG 5

6


F

I

N

M

I

L

A

G

A

FIG 6

FIG 7

Intrigued symmetrical as

S

E

more

by

those

with

on

are

seen

the

faces

attractive,

we

as

ourselves, images

people,

as

to

not

we

wanted

reflect

real

models,

with

features

that

a group set out to consider

interesting

the idea in a quadtych series

could

of photographs of ourselves,

of beauty. This also made the

manipulating

project

create Taking

the

our

faces

‘ideal

to

beauty’.

inspiration

highlight more

the

concept

personal

and

relevant to us, developing our

from

knowledge of beauty and self-

Wolkenstein’s (2012) project

esteem

of

Bieniek’s concept of twisting

‘Echoism’,

we

decided

to

further.

Inspired

by

carry out our de-construction

the

to

created four individual shots,

re-construction

shoot

7

traditional

portrait

we


FIG 8

FIG 9

but manually manipulated our

result

to

hair

to

as

outcomes

like

feeling.

reflect

a

We

surreal-

used

post-

the

portraits

editing to mirror our faces,

faces,

creating

personally

symmetry,

the

‘perfect’

showed

of

four

unfamiliar

proving

to

that

ourselves

symmetry

is

not beauty. We felt when our

twist of styling the hair in

faces were transformed into the

a

way

symmetrical edit, we preferred

suggests a feeling of freedom

the un-edited versions as it

and

the

represented our personalities

dream-

and were far more interesting.

like concept. When mirroring

However, in order to reflect

our

our

unreal,

viewer

and

the

disconcerting

added

dramatic

but

be

animated

implying

symmetry

portraits

is we

a

to

found

the

8

concept,

we

used

the


symmetrical images to show the viewer

that

symmetry

is

not

beauty. We decided to composite our

finalized

photographs

in

a quadtych as using a format of four photographs that are linked in some way helps tell a story and express our idea. Initially, as the viewer, you are drawn to the mise-en-scene that the images depict, with the

expressive

composition

and playful styling, with each model placed centrally giving eye contact to the viewer to draw

them

Trevor

in.

According

Millum’s

Gaze

to

theory,

the facial expressions within our

photographs

would

be

described as ‘Cool/level’. This expression in

the

looks

eye

the

with

a

viewer

confident

yet reserved state, with wide eyes and obtrusive hair. This invites the viewer in to gaze at

the

first, between

facial creating the

expressions a

image

connection and

the

viewer and making them drawn to FIG 10

symmetrical features. Majorie

9


Ferguson’s theory describes the image

as

‘Invitational’,

with

the emphasis on the eyes, mouth shut with a hint of a smile. We wanted the images to be inviting to the viewer, as the emphasis needed to be on the face and the expressions in order to echo our concept of symmetry. We wanted these

images

dreamlike

to

highlight

feeling

to

a

reflect

the ideal that symmetry in the face,

although

proven

to

be

scientifically more

attractive

to the eye, is unrealistic and we

should

asymmetry

embrace faces.

our

The

unique,

amplified

styling of the hair has been used to draw the viewer’s attention to

the

symmetry

created.

10


The

E

M

E

H

T

world

of

media

has

D

I

A

been

attempting to construct the ideal image of what a ‘perfect woman’ is

supposed

to

look

like.

The

media has injected into our minds that you can only be beautiful if you have long legs or great hair, when

realistically

don’t

(Atkinson,

most

K,

of

2013).

us

With

the advancements of technology in today’s society, it is now easier to manipulate images to create the ‘perfect’ nature

image.

of

The

accessible

technology,

with

the

variety of media platforms, means even we can download an app, edit a

photograph

of

ourselves,

and

upload it to social media (see fig 11). to

We

wanted

challenge

traditional

our

the use

photographs

media of

the

and

the

perfect

11

FIG 11


FIG 12

image. We wanted our images to be

a

just We

statement, another

felt

well

our

with

artistic

portrait.

images

coincided

a

political

nature

and

of

‘AnOther’

AnOther

magazine

communicates in

than

beauty

the

magazine.

rather

to

the

reader

thought-provoking

stimulating

mode,

with

and

them

their

engaging articles on a variety of

subjects

unusual felt the

and

editorials,

would

unite

message

images.

artistic

and

The

yet

which well

style

reader

of

interest

creative her

own

or

world, views

with

his

or

outlook

on

and

would

the

and

would be able to relate to the of

questioning

beauty

but would still appreciate the artistic

style.

We

wanted

effect

culture

on

society

interesting,

visual

with

the

reader

of

white space and minimal text

the world. This younger reader subject

its

beauty

about

AnOther magazine. The use of

the

in

and

connect

our

career

current

more

imagery, which we felt would

magazine is a young adult, with an

our

through

we

with

of

question

to

challenge our viewer and make

12

compliment amplify

the

our

images

concept.


C

O

N

N

O

I

S

U

L

C

Denis Pelli argues there is no way to know for sure what makes things and people beautiful,

as

scientists

try

to

figure

it

out. ‘It’s like asking whether your vision of

‘red’

is

the

same

as

someone

else’s,

there’s just no way to know for sure’ (Landau, 2012).

Through

is

beauty?’,

no

real

our

we

answer,

exploration

discovered whether

into

that

it’s

a

‘What

there

is

scientific

explanation or if beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We wanted to reflect to our viewer its

that

our

beauty.

beauty

unique Symmetry

isn’t

qualities and

perfection that

but

represent

averageness

could

be

considered attractive, as they are close to the ‘norm’ in multidimensional face space. They

are

therefore

than

non-average

encountered

faces

(Hole,

more G

&

often

Bourne,

V, 2010). However, through this process of distorting our own faces we as a group found it was our original faces we preferred as the symmetrical edits created a surreal and unrealistic appearance. I consider the final images to be successful as they create a sense of otherworldly with the unruly hair but the viewer

is

soon

drawn

in

to

the

symmetry,

suggesting facial symmetry is unrealistic and it’s the differences and unique qualities we hold that we should highlight as true beauty.

13


E

R

E

F

N

E

R

C

E

S

IMAGE REFERENCES Fig

1.

Julian

Wolkenstein’s

Photograph]

portrait

series.

2012.

[Digital

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670852/would-you-

recognize-yourself-with-a-completely-symmetrical-face#7 Fig

2.

[Digital

Double

Faced

girl

Photograph]

on

bus

by

Bieniek.

2013.

http://www.designboom.com/art/

portraits-of-the-double-faced-girl-by-sebastian-bieniek/ Fig

3.

[Digital

Double

Faced

girl

Photograph]

in

bath

by

Bieniek.

2013.

http://www.designboom.com/art/

portraits-of-the-double-faced-girl-by-sebastian-bieniek/ Fig

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model

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by

Sakvich.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.

com/2012/11/13/photographer-roman-sakovi_n_2118624.html Fig

5.

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by

Sakvich.

2012.

http://www.huffingtonpost.

com/2012/11/13/photographer-roman-sakovi_n_2118624.html Fig

6.

AUTHORS

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Fig

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Fig

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app.

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2013.

[Digital

http://www.anothermag.com

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18



What is Beauty?