Aging and Faces…

If you have very few photos of a person at a particular age that you are trying to portray how do you extrapolate what they might have looked like by looking at photos of them from younger or older days?

Well, you have to understand how faces change from youth through old age and apply some of those principles to the work.

Our faces change as we age. Of course our ears and noses continue to grow and the end of the nose starts to come down a bit over time with gravity. But another thing to consider is the loss of facial fat - especially around the eyes and the mouth. The later photos of Fannie Mae taken in her 50’s, 60’s and 70’s have a much larger and more animated smile than would be seen in a younger Fannie Mae due to the changes associated with aging which is most noticeable in the degree of eye crinkle and the sharpness in the corners of the smile. Her younger smile and lips are much fuller and more relaxed than her older person smile due to the fat deposits of youth. I mention this because people around today would have known her from an older age rather than the youth of 35 that we are portraying and there are very few photos from this time period.

I have put together an example using Julia Louis Dreyfus (from Seinfeld and Veep) to illustrate the point. You can see the difference in age in her nose tip being longer/lower and the corners of her smile lift higher as there are fewer fat deposits in her lips and also between her upper lip and her cheek. Her eyes are rounder and crinkle less in youth and more and are deeper set when she’s in her 50’s:


Below I have done the same analysis of Fannie Mae Duncan, taking a few younger and few older photos to compare the anatomy. The target age that we have chosen to depict is about age 35.

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