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The Beautification Engine

The Ever Changing Face

According to The New York Times, there's a new computer software being billed as a "beautification engine" that conforms an existing headshot to a mathematical standard of beauty culled from the opinions of 68 Israeli and German men and women. Of course, the idea of applying technical principles of symmetry and a "golden ratio" to what humans find attractive in other humans is not a new one. Using data on what distances between features are considered most attractive, the program alters the geometry of the face — what it doesn't do is change hair or eye color, remove wrinkles or omit blemishes. (However, there is a service that does: PicWash will digitally clear your skin or slim you down with a starting rate of $7 an image).

The article brings to mind Jonathan Van Meter's New York Magazine article back in August about The New Face, a more youthful and unnatural standard of beauty the author observed spreading across the aging faces of socialites and celebrities. Van Meter was talking about actual injections and cosmetic surgery, not a digital alternative like today's article — but the core issue remains the same. As Dr. Lois W. Banner comments in the Times, “Irregular beauty is the real beauty.” What do you think?


lizlee89 lizlee89 9 years
“Irregular beauty is the real beauty.” so true...
WhitneyGH WhitneyGH 9 years
My husband is one of those people naturally blessed with perfectly symmetrical features. So much so that even strangers will comment on how symmetrical his features are. I don't believe in a standard of beauty. Imperfection is beautiful. So is perfection. Different people are attracted to different things. That being said, I don't have a problem with people who want/have plastic surgery (heck, I want it eventually) or who touch up their photos. Everyone should be able to do whatever he or she feels he/she needs to do to FEEL beautiful. What I have a problem with is outside forces trying to push beauty standards onto everyone and make us all fit into one little box.
austerity austerity 9 years
Hmm..I guess there is a 'standard' kind of beauty that most people would appreciate, and the engine makes sense for that kind of beauty. But I guess what really makes someone look stunning are the little imperfections added to that 'standard'. Would Cindy Crawford be HER without the mole? Or Padma Lakshmi without her scar? Aishwarya Rai without her slightly crooked nose? I think of it as adding one little drop of oil to a pool of clear water. Without this drop, the water is good, clear, but nothing special. With one little disturbance, the water gets a barely-there, but lovely, rainbowy glow that makes it stand out. I think that's the kind of magic that only nature can create (as opposed to 'beauty software').
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
Forget to mention something... They polled only 68 people?! 68 people is NOT enough to scientifically say what is and is not beautiful. Maybe if they polled like two million people, than it would have some value. However 68 people cannot actually claim to know what the perfect face looks like. Wasn't there a photo awhile back that based on research from what people thought the best eyes, nose, jaw, lips, etc, were; and these computer guys created a woman's image with the #1 picked features. And it turned out to be a hideous face. Like, people thought this would make the perfect face and it complete went reverse.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I have made a promise to myself never to get plastic surgery or botox. The only exception to plastic surgery is if I ever needed to have a mastectomy, then I would get implants. I want to keep myself as natural as possible. Everyone has flaws and it makes them real, not cut, sewn and lifted. You need to learn to love yourself, which is difficult (I'm still learning) however the best route. Clearing a zit from a photo? Okay. Changing your facial structure and weight? Um, no way.
Bolly Bolly 9 years
“Irregular beauty is the real beauty.” I like that quote.
Edie-J-Blige Edie-J-Blige 9 years
I think it takes a lot more than 68 people to determine what the standard for beauty is.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
I find that quite often, I don't find people who are "perfected" digitally quite as good-looking - it's almost like a too-perfect image screams "fake! fake!" very loudly; it makes the person seem unnatural.
fleurdelispink fleurdelispink 9 years
If we all looked the same, it would be pretty boring.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 9 years
I don't necessarily find "perfect" beauty (whatever that even means) to always be all that great. Here's a quote about beauty that I like. "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion." Sir Francis Bacon
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