Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I'm currently a bit obsessed with the Face of Tomorrow project. Around a hundred photos of people from each city are layered transparently over each other to form a facial composite archetype for that city. The artist who started the project was interested to see what a multi-ethnic person would look like, one formed from the people he encountered in each city.

The results look slightly stylised but still quite realistic. I'm not sure how the technique works, but to me it look like each face has been slightly elongated or otherwise manipulated to match up the location of the eyes, nose and mouth.

The Sydney composites archetypes are kind of spooky, these people don't actually exist yet they really do look like any number of good looking, slightly Mediterranean faces you might see on the streets of Sydney. The archetypes formed from pictures taken at Bondi Beach and Sydney University are quite unique to each location.

My only one quibble is the youthful good looks of most of the participants. The brief says that they approach 100 indidividuals, but it seems that the locations like beaches and universities (in Sydney at least) are designed for a young and attractive demographic. Having said that, I guess the archetype works best though if you have people of various ethnicities but a similar age range. It would be nice to see the same exercise with aged people, for instance.


M-H said...

I thought I posted this, but blogger seems to have eaten it. I work at Sydney Uni and if you took these photos now you would get a completely different result. Security staff, construction staff, academic staff, general staff. A few grad students. Almost no-one under 20.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

it would be cool to get a photo for each decade, to see the differences... then blend them together for a composite of a composite!

agreed TOA, presumably there has to be some manipulation to set the features in the right spot to avoid a god-awful mess. but how does the artist choose the dimensions of the face? is it an average or an ideal? looks like an ideal set of proportions at first glance, which tends to mean you won't end up with anything too quirky or interesting anyway.

fab stuff!

Anonymous said...

If you check out this page on the Face of Tomorrow website, he actually explains pretty much all the process...

I actually thought it might be interesting to take the required 100 shots at some sort of gay event... come up with the ultimate "blended" gay man and lesbian... scary thought, huh?

The Other Andrew said...

At risk of sounding all granolawhalehugging I kind of like the philosophical of aspect of this project too. Plus we all know I have a thing for people with exotic features and (I hope this doesn't sound in the slightest racist or weird) but I often find people of multi-ethnic backgrouds incredibly beautiful. I do think the resulting archetypes are quite beautiful.

Thanks for the link Yani!