Wednesday 22 February 2012

Here's What Rochester Looks Like (as a Police Composite Sketch)

In terms of image-construction itself, Davis used the forensic software program Faces ID, which gives users (creepily, incredibly) about 10,000 individual facial features to choose among. He then used the authors' descriptions of their characters as guidelines in his selections, selecting the most true-to-text facial features, Identikit-style. For the inevitable gaps in the characters' descriptions (noses and ears, Davis discovered, were often ignored by authors), he did some educated guesswork, considering factors like the era the author was writing in and other elements of the story that might inform its characters' appearance.

"So," Davis says, "it's a combination of literary criticism -- which I know well -- and forensics -- of which I'm an utter amateur."
Also, Madame Bovary, Humbert Humbert... and more at The Composites, including Daisy Buchanan and Sam Spade. (The Atlantic, feb 10... link thanks to Bob Morales)


Blogger Jason Michelitch said...

For a moment I thought you might have meant Rochester, New York, and I thought perhaps someone had taken all the facial characteristics of the population and jammed them together with a computer according to prevalence.

23 February 2012 at 09:40:00 GMT-5  
Blogger team spawns said...

I guess books don't have pictures 'cause all the people in 'em are ugly.

28 February 2012 at 21:57:00 GMT-5  

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