Friday, 4 September 2009

Unresolved duality and Barack Obama

It was the Greek philosopher Pliny who noted that the two sides of the human face are physically asymmetrical. This, of course, is no bad thing as it is the asymmetry which makes a human face interesting to look at.

Aware of this phenomenon, portrait painters have often accentuated the asymmetry in their paintings in order to create a more attractive portrait. And photographers have also been careful to avoid the problems associated with unresolved duality (problem photos here and here)

As for unresolved duality and the human face, the theorist Piere Abraham discovered that faces have spiritual symmetry as well. In essence what he found was this:

The right hand side of the face is more the window into the inner soul of a person, a revelation of their introverted tendencies, feelings and struggles.

And in contrast, the left hand side of the face is the extroverted part of the face; i.e. a reflection of how we like to project ourselves on others; our public image you might say.

Anyway, I didn’t really think much of this idea of unresolved duality and the human face until I came across an interesting article on the web which reported that Flickr had entered the murky waters of political censorship by removing a photoshopped image of Barack Obama from someone’s Flickr account.

Quite why Flickr did this I don’t know. The image is not offensive and – as you can obviously see – was used on the cover of Time Magazine.

So then I had an idea – why not do a photoshopped image of Barack Obama myself? An “unresolved duality” one of course!!!!!

Anyway, I am pretty familiar with Photoshop, and after finding a suitable portrait picture of Obama I was quickly able to produce the images.

Original Barack Obama portrait (note the asymmetry of his face):

Barack Obama

Barack Obama: right hand side of the face (“window into the soul”):

Barack Obama: left hand side of the face (“the public image”):

And the analysis? Well if you look at the “right hand side of the face” image, which reveals Obama’s inner soul, you can see someone – in my opinion – who is rather weak and timid. Certainly not someone who is aggressive and likely to start unnecessary wars – no bad thing in my opinion. Especially since he is the US President. Basically, Obama is a sensitive guy.

And as for Obama’s “left hand side of the face” image, which shows Obama’s public projection, you can see an altogether different character. Here, Obama looks tough, confident and proud. Probably the sorts of characteristics you want to have in a president.

So well done Obama: you’ve passed the unresolved duality test with flying colours!