BY: CONNOR BRIAN
How do you define beauty? Beauty is a quality that philosophers, artists, and intellectuals sacrifice themselves for and nearly bleed out to understand. Your conception of beauty drives every sexual tendency and choice of self-expression you will ever make. Some may define beauty as the constellation of scars that tatter their lovers back, but most prefer to admire the romanticized “ideal beauty” of smooth skin, proportioned bodies, and relatively young, symmetrical faces. This is due to the fact that “beauty is in the culturally conditioned eye of the beholder” says Professor Dennis Dutton, and in our culture – both in fashion and every day life – we seem to be inspired by the theory that symmetrical faces are the most attractive.
In Both Sides Of, photographer Alex John Beck tests our preconceived notion of beauty by taking portraits of ten people and constructing a pair of symmetrical images by using the left half of their faces, and another using the right. The resulting image looks as if each side of the face has been mirrored to create an artificial and almost creepily-proportioned face.
It is surprising to notice how indisputably different the character of each side of the face is. According to science author Sam Keane, this might be due to the fact that our left sides appear more expressive than our right, because it corresponds to the part of our brain that controls language and emotion. So if no face can be completely symmetrical then maybe people should consider posing on their left side for the next photo op, but more importantly perhaps we need to redefine our notion of what ideal beauty truly is.