Something’s Not Quite Right

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There have been studies suggesting that people with symmetrical faces are generally perceived to be more attractive than those without. It’s also commonly accepted that most people have some form or another of asymmetry. Either an ear or an eye is lower on one side, or perhaps you’re prone to the “crooked smile” and have a few extra wrinkles on that side.

Personally, I have an inability to grow facial hair immediately to the right of my mouth, meaning the perfect handlebar mustache will forever remain elusive.

I’m a huge fan of symmetrical and asymmetrical balance – especially in photography. In some way, shape, or form I always attempt to find a way to balance my images. Though, it’s usually done in composition. Countering an offset component with empty space, including a dark object to balance an overly bright image, or using analogous colors to offset and image heavy in complimentary colors. Of course this is nothing new. These are core principles of photography. When learning how to craft your images, these techniques allow you to create pictures that don’t feel awkward. They lead to compositions that are easy for your viewers’ eyes to absorb.

We’ve all played with a mirror at a fun-house or tried out the “mirroring effect” with our webcams. Usually, the results are rather extreme and comical. As an immature adult with access to image editing software, I’ll also use this effect to create hilarious mockeries of my friends who foolishly let me photograph them. (click for outtakes)

My curiosity came with the realization that I could use the science behind symmetry and lighting to create images that weren’t physiologically accurate, but which also weren’t entirely displeasing.

Luckily, I had years of imagery to pull from. As this wasn’t the intended use when I initially created the photographs, they weren’t intentionally lit for this purpose. The sheer variation helped me learn what works and what doesn’t. An additional perk is that I have always had a tendency to photograph people straight-on. As that’s not a commonly desired angle, those are usually passed up for an angled portrait. Basically, I had a lot of fodder to work with.

Check out the “successes” so far.

– Jon

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