Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Did you know that we all favour the left-hand side of our face when we take/ pose for portraits? This includes over 90 percent of the depictions of Jesus throughout history. This insight is just in from science writer Sam Kern in The Atlantic (you can see the video here) with some speculation about why this might be (more attractive, more emotional). As photographer Peter Peryer was staying with us, we decided to look up his catalogues and test the idea.

Wouldn’t you know it, in practically every portrait he has made Peter Peryer favours exactly the reverse. When Peter isn’t going front-on, he almost invariably has his subjects turn the other cheek, in this case the right-hand one.

We of course did some counting. In the exhibition Erika: a portrait by Peter Peryer three of the portraits are face-on, two favour the left-hand side of the face like the rest of us would, and seven that favour the right. We’re figuring that this tendency may help explain why Peryer’s portraits can be so unsettling and memorable.

Image: Peter Peryer’s Self portrait, 1977