Design of the week: Turn that frown

2014-09-14 15:00

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Alienation is a new project by Cape Town photographer Anelia Loubser that was featured this week on some of the world’s prominent culture blogs and image-sharing sites.

The project is a collection of portraits based on the following quote: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

That is the impression we got from these eerie, otherworldy close-ups. By flipping traditional portraits upside down, a completely different image is created. Loubser said she wanted to play with perception, presenting something familiar in an unfamiliar way.

“Wrinkles and lines are what make these faces so brilliant. I photographed people from different ages, but older people worked best. The more lines and wrinkles on the forehead, the easier it is to see an alien face.”

As human beings, we naturally see faces and patterns in random objects. This is called ­pareidolia. It is the reason forehead wrinkles become contorted mouths, eyebrows become whiskers and noses flip to ­create bridged alien foreheads in Loubser’s photographs.

The incredible images suggest that conventional beauty might not be as simple as it seems. How does the way we look at people change how we see them? What does a person actually look like? All of us can seem strange and alien if viewed from another angle, something powerfully expressed in Loubser’s ­striking photographs.

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