Does the word pareidolia mean anything to you? Does it matter? Well, our use of it may matter a whole lot, even if our knowledge of it doesn’t. Humans have a proclivity for finding faces –it’s a survival instinct and we’re social creatures. We wouldn’t have gotten this far on this planet if we didn’t get good at seeing faces in the bushes. Could be a predator, prey, foe, kin, friend or neighbor, but it sure helps to see them early enough to determine the correct behavior. The act is exercised over and over, and is always reinforced with personal benefit regardless of which face is found. If we find a predator, we have a chance to escape; if not, a chance to kill our supper, fight or flee a foe, happily greet family and friends, or cautiously embrace a stranger with kindness while covertly checking for weapons.
Well, regardless of how much fun we could have talking about that, I felt it better to stick to the photography angle and discuss pareidolia in what we see to photograph –that is, how our subconscious predilections might influence our choice of the peripheral elements and subjects we include in our photos. Since a photo should be worth a thousand words and since the written words that would flow to such a discussion can be cumbersome, here is a large version of the above photo which might suffice. The comments section below is open for further discussion.
When I saw this wall of ice at Little Rocky Glen many faces popped out. Later, when making the photo on the computer, I spent way too much time just searching for facial features. So I thought I’d share the fun and give you all a chance to exercise your natural gift. It’s not just a Where’s Waldo search where one looks for the proper stripes, but it’s a more complicated process with more satisfying rewards. Wanting to enhance some of the effect and ensure results, I searched Google for images of faces and threw in 24 for you to find. I guarantee you’ll find hundreds more because of your pareidolia prowess.
In this before and after crop of the Grinch, you can see he was pretty much the same in the original –neck, hair and all green. If you download them and view them in rapid succession, you’ll see it best. You may also notice a more pronounced Chucky come into screen too.
See if you can’t find this before and after couple. Notice how pronounced the eye was right from the start.
You may find Jack Nicholson, Mona Lisa, Jack Sparrow, Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin among the crowd because I’ve placed them there. You may also find them where I haven’t placed them because your imagination is that good. Certainly you’ll find hundreds I haven’t placed in the photo. Some are large, some small, some hidden and some quite noticeable. The amazing part, you’ll find, is not in what I’ve added, but in what was not needed.
Here are all the faces I added, but I can’t believe that someone would ever find them all.