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Photographer Uses Photoshop and Neuroscience to Find Your ‘Ideal’ Self-Image

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What does your ideal self actually look like? That’s the question that photographer Scott Chasserot seeks to answer with his experiment, Original Ideal. By using portrait photography, Photoshop and brainwave scanners, he thinks he can pinpoint the version of your portrait that you find most appealing.

The experiment is actually fairly straightforward and easy to understand. First, his subjects have their portrait taken in the most unadorned, simplest terms possible. Then, the photos are modified many times over into 50 different versions of the original that are all shown to the subject, one-by-one, while monitoring their brain activity using an Emotiv EEG brain scanner.

Based on the data from the brain scanner, Chasserot can pinpoint the photo that generated the strongest positive reaction. Finally, he posts the original image and the ‘ideal’ image side-by-side so you can see the differences. Here’s a behind the scenes look at this process and the project as a whole:

Chasserot will be the first to tell you the experiment isn’t perfect. Speaking with The Creators Project, he says:

The methodology is still in pilot study phase. There is plenty to be improved upon. The ‘Ideal’ image is simply the one with the greatest positive reaction immediately after presentation and that cannot be distinguished from any theoretical, specific ‘ideal self’ reaction.

Still, he believes Original Ideal and the side-by-side portraits that result are an important indicator of, “how much of daily interactions are defined by the immediate assumptions we make about others based purely on their physical appearance, the leap we make from physical to psychological.”

Here’s a look at a selection of the resulting images:

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To learn more about this project or see the rest of the portraits, head over to the Original Ideal website by clicking here. And if you’d like to see more of Chasserot’s work, you can visit his website here.


Image credits: Photographs by Scott Chasserot and used with permission

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