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making faces :: something in my eye

if you thought that merely trying out a version of every option available to me in the sci/art colour categories was going to be sufficient to quell my desire to figure out where i might fit into the seasonal spectrum, you clearly haven't met me. [which is entirely possible, since i haven't met most of the people who come by these parts.] seeing as i'm not an expert, i wanted to push further to see what i could actually observe about my own colouring [and that of those around me, since i've been randomly draping things around dom and snapping pictures of different parts of his face as well as asking him to apply filters to said photos for me to review them.

one of the great things about modern computer technology is that it can allow you to do things like split an image into pixels so that you can view it not as a whole, but as the sum of its parts. so i thought that it might be an interesting idea to try actually pulling my face apart [not literally] to look at what it's really made of. that idea is key, by the way, to understanding how sci/art analysis works. the colours that harmonise with you are not accidental, they are colours that are already part of your skin, hair and eyes, it's just that you can't consciously perceive them. the world would be difficult to navigate if we could see everything broken into the entire range of light waves that comprises it. essentially, everything would be reduced to a meaningless mosaic. instead, our eyes have adapted to interpret wavelengths in a way that allows us to make sense of them. however, we are still aware of the different colours that make up everything we see, which is why some combinations will always strike us as harmonious. we're hard-wired that way.

as it turns out, analysing skin is of limited use, since you really can't see the kind of detail that you would need to properly judge undertone and because things can get screwed up by the presence of shadows or, say, if you have a random cat hair that you didn't notice that messes everything up and makes it look like you have a weird stripe of colour restricted to one part of your cheek. 

however, it is very interesting to look at pixelated images of eyes. because there are many colours in the iris that are more easily perceived when an image is divided to show them. even without applying a pixel filter, it's interesting just to look at a high resolution photo of your eye. you're likely to be surprised at what you find.

i'll give you a look at mine as a case in point.

from a normal viewing distance, my eyes are either blue or grey. i've always said that they were blue, but the fact is that they're pale enough that the colour is determined more by what's around them than anything else, which really means that they're grey. the one thing that most people can agree on is that they are completely cool in tone, as very light eyes tend to be. icy. like a lot of people with pale eyes, i have a darker ring at the outside of my iris. in my case, that ring is pronounced on the outer sides and a little softer on the inner sides, so it's not a perfect ring. again, that's not particularly uncommon- it's actually rarer to see someone who has a perfectly even ring around the iris.


if you look at a picture of my eye isolated, though, things get a little weird. first of all, there are a couple of noticeable golden brown spots. again, this isn't uncommon. lots of people have flecks of different colour in their eyes and some of them have quite remarkable spots that are visible even in passing. but what's more curious is that the overall "cool" effect of my eyes completely disappears. it's like a cool blue-grey eye that someone spilled their tea on. [i'm really trying to avoid thinking of the term "urine-stained" when i look at the close-up.] there's a definite yellowy cast to the entire iris, save for the pupil.

closer

closer still
with dom's help, i isolated a couple of sections of my iris, ones that i felt comprised all the colours found in the iris. if you'd like to try this yourself, just find a friend with photoshop. virtually any camera will take an adequate photo if you get it close enough and applying the pixel filter only takes a few seconds.



split up in this way, you can see more of a "map" of all the colours. you can get a better perspective on how a yellow tone permeates everything. there's no shade you'd really call blue, or at least nothing you'd call an unmixed blue and nothing that shows as a pure grey either. instead, you have a spectrum of muted aqua to sage green to mousy grey, all of which look like they're seen through a veil of smog. the other interesting thing is that it's not a particularly light grouping of colours. despite the fact that my eyes look pale, there aren't a lot of icy or pastel shades mixed in there at all. they're medium.

so what does this all mean? am i not blue or grey-eyed after all? well, yes and no. since my eyes look grey or blue to most people, of course that would be my correct eye colour description. however, when choosing what colours i put on and around my face, i'm going to want to consider the colours that are hiding beneath. because even if we can't claim to see them at a casual glance, we are aware of them and we do react to them.

in terms of finding my proper season, i'd say that this now categorically excludes the purely cool seasons of true winter and true summer. there is too much warmth going on in there for it to be an easy fit. [if you've been following this series of posts, you might remember that i didn't feel a true winter palette worked on me anyway, but true summer was actually the best of the three summers.] if we accept my judgment that i'm not exclusively warm toned, then we've effectively eliminated all of the "true" seasons. but is that cast over my iris more of a spring yellow or autumn gold? summer soft or winter bright? that, folks, is about as far as we can get just looking at eyes, but it's a good start.

please feel free to spend the next hour staring at photos of your eyes and come back to post comments about what surprising things you see!

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hah, what a discovery :-) I am going to do a little super zooming myself I think... although I think my eyes will still look brown, even from up close.
morelikespace said…
I definitely recommend doing a close up to find out! You might be surprised that even though your eyes look brown, there are a lot of other colours hiding in there.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

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in colour analysis, each "parent" season- spring, summer, autumn, winter- overlap with each other season in one colour dimension- hue [warm/ cool], value [light/ dark] and chroma [saturated/ muted]. autumn is warm, dark and muted [relatively speaking], whereas winter is cool, dark and saturated. so you can see that the points of crossover in palettes, the places where you can emphasize autumn's attributes, is in the darker shades.

it's unsurprising that as fall transitions into winter, you get the darkest shades of all. we've seen the warmer equivalent in the dark autumn look from last time, so from there, as with all neutral seasons, we move from the warmer to the cooler cognate...


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i chose a few favourites to share, but i highly encourage you, if you like what you see, to pre-order the book he's publishing with all the drawings. [you can also get 11x17 prints of individual images.]

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