Symmetrical Faces

Symmetrical Faces

Series of photos by Julian Wolkenstein examines the belief that people who have more symmetrical faces are considered to be more attractive.

The portraits were split into a left and a right section, then one side was horizontally flipped to create two symmetrical identities of the subject.

Symmetrical Face

Symmetrical

Symmetric

Symmetry

Symmetrical Portrait

Face

Echoism

Fascial Symmetry

Symmetric Face

Portrait

Symmetric Portrait

If you have a webcam or an iPhone, visit echoism.org to do this experiment with your face. Now that your face was made symmetrical, do you consider yourself “more” or “less” beautiful? Do you have a best side? Do you even recognize yourself? What is to be said of left and right brain dominance?

  1. @TinaNguyensays

    Totally cool!

  2. Deanna

    Judging the first photo, which shows all three (the original, and the two symmetrical ones) the original was the most attractive!
    He’s a very attractive man, and not so good looking in the experimentally symmetrical shots.

  3. brittany

    i agree with deanna. these pictures are interesting tho, and the website posted to make your own symmetrical shot is very fun.

  4. Stephan

    why are they naked?

  5. Truthiness

    @Stephan

    They didn’t ask questions, they just did as they were told.

  6. Larna

    I dont see much different honestly..and the hairs make it look worse.lol

  7. Maurice

    This approach to representing symmetry really seems like a somewhat exaggerated and deceptive way to make the point that the artist wants to make. These photos are technically symmetrical, but they take all of the person’s flaws (ie. assymmetries) and make them stand out that much more. For example, in the first set, the guy has a normal sized and lopsided head, but one symmetrical photo shows him with an oddly wide head, and the other shows him with an oddly squished, elongated head. If anything, these photos serve to show that symmetry is not the only factor in determining a beautiful face. A more attractive (unlike the artist, I’m not using quotes around that word) face would result if you took a photo of someone, flipped it horizontally, overlayed one on top of the other, and proceeded to make small changes to both photos until they meet in the middle somewhere. But that would require more effort to be expended in the editing, would make for more subtle-looking results, and would only confirm the research that’s already been done on the topic. It’s intuitive- we’d all rather date Brad Pitt than Quasimoto.

    To call one thing pretty and another thing ugly does not mean being shallow. It means acknowledging reality and trying to understand how and why the human mind works the way it does.

  8. Gert

    Heh, some of these people are still unattractive even symmetrical.

    I’d also rather see the unaltered photo first to make my own judgment on if the person was attractive or not in the first place. Some people’s flaws are what makes them attractive in the first place like a lopsided smile or a small beauty mark on the cheek etc.

  9. VinceVega

    As presented here (except for the original), this does NOT examine whether people find symmetrical faces more attractive than assymetrical ones as much as it does examine wheteher an individial’s mirrored left or right side is more or less attractive than its counterpart. Lousy study IMO.

  10. wombat

    Actually, I think this is a flawed premise. I did this very same experiment 10 years ago or so. Making a face symmetrical doesn’t make it attractive HOWEVER people who are attractive have symmetrical faces. You can easily demonstrate natural symmetry by doing what Julian did because you’ll find that both of the faces made symmetrical digitally look very similar.

  11. Pig

    In cases where the person was attractive, making their faces symmetrical improved their beauty. But not always if the photoshopper took a less flattering side of their face. Numbers 2, 4, 5, 8, 12 are more attractive. Numbers 1, 3, 9 are not substantially improved. 4, 7 are less attractive because the symmetrical image does not correspond to the original. 11 is more difficult because the skin tone is evened out on the symmetrical one, like the wearer was wearing foundation, but the original is a more beautiful woman.

  12. Z

    Looks like someone just played around with Apple’s “Photo Booth” for their first time.

  13. meysam

    Cool !

  14. 0803060.e

    i like the 5th chicks hair its stickin up.

  15. Alicia

    I completely agree with Maurice above who commented earlier. He hit the nail on the head. Frankly.. considering the effort put into the experiment I’m taken back at how flawed the experiment itself is in interpreting the concept of facial symmetry.

  16. Blake

    I agree with Maurice too! The way the photos have been changed through the centre may be giving others the wrong idea. I think that the guy in the original is so much better than the symmetrical photos. It would be better, if we could see the originals of the other photos but, for me, people who have symmetrical faces are so rare; they could be robots.

  17. astropwn

    Not much to compare without seeing the originals

  18. Aims

    I find the original face so much more attractive. Slight asymmetry seems to calm the face a lot… when the two are separated they look very odd. Anyone else get this feeling?

  19. Marie

    This project can’t work unless the models are standing completely straight. If your head is tilted to the left slightly, then obviously you’re going to get weird results when you cut the photo in half.

    Absolutely ridiculous.

  20. kolleen

    In each set, there are a pair of benevolent eyes

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