Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Science of Beauty

If I don't start off with re-affirming my love and commitment to my SL wife, Angela (Seale) Galway there is a substantial risk that my avatar will be found floating ashore at the New Port Yacht Club, bereft of life but possessing quite a few bullet holes. That said, my friend Liara (Kemicq Resident) is heart-achingly, take-your-breath-away beautiful. (ahem ... I love you, Ange!) I set out to discover why.
The My Second Life post that started me thinking.
Well, obviously, she crafted her avatar very, very well. The process required conscious thought on her part, but was it all intuition or was there math behind the magic? During a life-figure art class long ago we looked at the Golden Number idea (AKA, Phi or 1.168), a concept closely related to describing why things are beautiful and the mathematics behind using Phi to create beauty. Many plastic surgeons (and sculptors, if you stick with the idea of art) use an extension of the Golden Ratio idea called The Marquardt Mask to reshape faces to be perfect. Let's apply it to Liara.

Holy Da Vinci! It works!!
As you can see, her features very closely match the Mask, especially if you figure in a margin of error for doing the comparison in a quick and dirty fashion. So if you buy into this idea, maybe we should all tailor our avatars with this tool.

Not so fast. Any good photographer will shoot the heck out of a scene then stop and critically think about what drew them to raise the camera and press the shutter button in the first place. Assuming there is time, of course. When I reflect upon Liara's face There are a few things that draw me that aren't related to the ratio guide.

Her eyes, for one. They are intense. The shape indicates an alertness, a bit of a longing, and casual sophistication. Her fair skin. Freckles are a big draw for me, but like most humans, the psychologists tell us, I am drawn to fair, healthy looking skin. Deep down when we look at people we are looking for good genes and clear, fair skin is an indicator. Don't ask me where I read that ... a decade in therapy tends to blur things. Then there are her carefully and deliberately chosen flaws – the piercings. Much like dimples or Marilyn Monroe's celebrated mole, they become beauty marks that help shape her face's symmetry and draw the eye.

The photo has elements that enhance her beauty, too. The tilt of the head complimentary to the leading lines that accentuate her face, using her face as a negative space in all the business of the fabric (the bright sun detracts from that and my old studio lighting class teacher would have shot me for including it).

Last, but not least, of all the factors that make me think gorgeous when I see Liara is that I know her. Not well, mind you, as I get dizzy looking at her sometimes and what she says during those times rather blurs in my brain, but I know she's whip smart, confident, very artistic, and more things I could think of if I wasn't all blurry brained. Let's call it an inner beauty. Just as your voice changes when you smile and talk, your overall appearance changes based on what is inside you emotionally and such.

Cripes. All this writing and I've totally lost where I was going. Right.

Liara is a truly beautiful woman, she's crafted a stunning avatar, and she did it with magic. Something about math and geometry is in there somewhere but I keep looking at her picture and ...

Did I mention that I really love my wife?

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