If you’ve been following me on Twitter and Instagram in the last few months you may have noticed a lot of weird portraits. Many of my followers think them vile. I sort of agree, despite making them. Heck, I’m barely in control of making them. All I’m doing is leisurely pushing FaceApp (that app for messing with, er, faces) to the limit. And you can too.
It’s a hobby that doesn’t take too much talent, effort or time: anyone can subvert flesh while waiting for a bus. You merely put a photo of a face through FaceApp, as you’re meant to. But here’s the trick: you take the new photo and put it through again and again and again. Keep doing it. The portrait directly above, for instance, is simply an act of putting my own face through the masculine filter nearly forty times (admittedly, that’s more than what’s usually required).
Directly below, however, are two more portraits of me put through a barrage of FaceApp filters, this time old-old-old, young-young-young repeatedly. I particularly like the old/young method as pretty soon thongs start to resemble old paint. You sort of… make wrinkles and smear them.
It’s a fun old process, deciding what filter to use next. The best of it is, if you take a wrong turn you can always go back to an earlier version and choose some other effect. Explore every tolerance of the human face!!!
Give it a go. I honestly don’t know why people don’t. You get to be a digital Francis Bacon, for Pete’s sake! When you get past the first six or seven photos and suddenly IT happens- that sudden drop off into the abyss of unreality into a face you couldn’t have imagined- it’s a magical experience. At least for me (Pro tip: a quick way to get there is to give the portrait lots of hair, about three or four saves worth, and then suddenly give it short hair: it often confuses the app, slicing away whole chunks of flesh and replacing it with algorithmic guesswork).
The highest form of satisfaction though is to totally screw up FaceApp to the point where it surrenders and admits it cannot see a face anymore. That’s the ideal.
Francis Bacon once said something like ‘There’s no god and we’re all just meat, so we may as well be fabulous.’ It would seem a bunch of Silicon Valley nerds have accidentally created an app for exploring that thought.