Composite faces

This gallery consists of computer-generated 41 composite photographs.  Each composite was made by overlaying digital images of several women of the indicated ethnicity and averaging their facial characteristics.

Back in February, this gallery provoked a great deal of public discussion.  Some people behaved as though it revealed a deep truth about the racial divisions of humankind, while others not only rejected this idea but regarded the whole thing as a joke in questionable taste.

What I’ve been waiting for is for someone use the same technology to to do something useful, or at least something more interesting than this.  For example, a composite photo of the 43 men who have served as US president might be interesting, especially if presented as a series of 43 slides.  Slide 1 would show George Washington, slide 2 would show George Washington + John Adams, slide 3 would show George Washington + John Adams + Thomas Jefferson, etc.  The change in appearance of the composite would of course be less each time, as  each successive president contributed a smaller share to the adjusted average, but it might be interesting to see the final image gradually crystallize.  It would be especially intriguing to compare the development of that composite with a similarly presented composite of a line of hereditary monarchs.

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