Sunday, April 15, 2012
Julian Wolkenstein: Symmetrical Faces, Asymmetrical Beauty
Posted by Jay at 12:03 PM
Is perfection synonymous with beauty? The answer seems so obvious, but when applied to the real world, the question becomes more complex than one would think. Symmetry is oftentimes associated with equality and perfection, but in the photographs of Julian Wolkenstein, symmetrical faces most often equal to asymmetrical beauty.
Julian Wolkenstein is a commercial photographer whose catalog of photographic works contain an eclectic mix of the mundane mixed with the bizarre; Among his pictures you'll find portraits of people in different stages of yawning, horses with glamorous hair-extensions, and fingers dressed up in little superhero costumes.
In his 2010 project entitled "Symmeytrical Portaits" (the extra "y" intentional), Wolkenstein explores the link between symmetry and beauty. While it's almost a foregone conclusion that perfectly symmetrical figures are more beautiful and attractive, the photographer takes a different approach towards challenging that statement.
He photographs his emotionless subjects, then takes each half of the face and flips them over. The resulting two portraits have some immediate relative similarities, but the differences are much, much more jarring.
There could be dozens of explanations for this phenomenon. It could just be an error in the manner of taking the subjects photographs; perhaps the subject is not perfectly posing in an upright position, or the camera might be horizontally askew relative to the subjects face. Or it could simply be that most people, no matter how physically attractive they are, don't actually have to be perfectly symmetrical to be considered attractive.
The concept is very interesting and can be duplicated with any camera and photo software. In fact, Wolkenstein also launched the website "Echoism" in order to encourage others to experiment with their own faces. You can also check out hundreds of other peoples asymmetrical results there.
Julian Wolkenstein's website is here. The Symmetrical Faces, Asymmetrical Beauty collection can be found in the Symmeytrical Portraits section. More skewed faces over at the Echoism website here.