03 December 2006

Invited guest: Nancy Burson

When I saw the book "Faces" by Nancy Burson in a bookstore in New York in 1993, I instantly bought it. It was so novel, beacause the human being was portrayed by using computer generated images and the results were astonishing. The last section of the book with children having craniofacial deformities, all captured with a Diana camera, really conveyed a strong sense of beauty and dignity. It was all so refreshing and mind-boggling. Still today, I tend to go back to this book and am endlessly inspired both on a spiritual and photographic level. Therefore, I was very pleased and happy to receive Nancy's kind response to my invitation.
- Craniofacial series Picture 1, 2 & 3
Warhead I (55% Reagan, 45% Brezhnev, less than 1% each of Thatcher, Mitterand, and Deng), 1982
Mankind (Oriental, Caucasian, and Black, weighted according to current population statistics), 1983–85
First and Second Beauty Composites (First Composite: Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelley, Sophia Loren, and Marilyn Monroe. Second Composite: Jane Fonda, Jacqueline Bisset, Diane Keaton, Brooke Shields, and Meryl Streep), 1982
Nancy Burson is best known for her pioneering work in morphing technology, which age enhances the human face, enabling law enforcement officials to locate missing children and adults.
Her Human Race Machine, which allows people to view themselves as a different race, was featured on Oprah in 2006. Currently there are Human Race Machines touring the U.S. college and university market, as a diversity tool that provides students with the profound visual experience of being another race.
"There is only one race, the human one. The concept of race is not genetic, but social. There is no gene for race. The Human Race Machine allows us to move beyond differences and arrive at sameness. We are all one."
Some of her recent work: Vibhuti is the sacred ash that's known to fall from the hands of Indian Avatars such as Sai Baba. It's healed millions of people in India and beyond.
Burson's first text-based book, Focus: How Your Energy Can Change the World, was published in 2004, and she has just completed her second book, "Lineage". In addition, she has authored four books of her photography. Some of the books are available at Amazon. Furthermore, there's an interview at the cIndy Center, go ahead and listen to it (or download it first, it's a large file of 16 MB).
© Nancy Burson
Invited by Anders Blomqvist


ulf said...

I am happy to be introduced to these pictures. It´s a true delight to read about and get to know you and your work Nancy. Top photography!

F said...

Wonderful and amazing, I love the idéa of the merged faces.



Magnus O said...

Wow, I just bookmarked this blog a few days ago! This such a great place to see good photography. This is really pioneer work that still is going strong, Nancy!

Pop Deluxe said...

Hi Nancy, I just ordered "faces" from Amazon.com! A great Christmas gift!

Ambjørn H said...

Yes, I remember the merged faces. The first time I saw them was in an article about creative manipulations. Especially the "Warhead" was very symbolic and captured the era of that time. Unfortunately, I believe one could create another "warhead" today that would look dramatically different. Sad but true.

f. skott said...

Indeed, this was really good and interesting pictures. The idea of the merged faces is amazing.
- F.

Markus said...

Yes, this is brilliant. Very creative!

j. s-g. said...

Inventive morphology, indeed. Makes us see things we would not see otherwise. That is a great way to use photography.

Thank you so much for participating on the F blog, Nancy!

mikael said...

Very interesting work!

Dr C said...

Nancy, "there is no gene..." is genial to me. Living in a big city, I get nervous whenever everyone around me have the same ethnicity. Your pictures shows the open big world outside, and makes me happy!