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Selfie Makes Our Noses Look Big and We Now Have A Mathematical Model to Prove It


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Distortive effects of short distance photographs on nasal appearance: The selfie effect

Researchers develop new mathematical model to explain how smartphones act as 'portable funhouse mirrors'

March 1, 2018
Rutgers University
Nasal distortions in selfies taken at close range are prompting people to seek out surgeons to make their noses smaller. Such was the experience of a facial plastic surgeon who worked with a mathematician to develop a model to show patients how much their nose becomes distorted in close-up photos.


Portrait A is taken at 12 inches; portrait B is taken at 60 inches.
Credit: Boris Paskhover

Does my smartphone make my nose look big? It might, according to researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

People take billions of selfies every day without realizing the distortive effects of the camera's close proximity, prompting many to possibly develop a skewed self image.


Boris Paskhover, an assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School's Department of Otolaryngology who specializes in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, frequently was shown selfies as examples of why patients were requesting surgery to make their noses smaller.


"Young adults are constantly taking selfies to post to social media and think those images are representative of how they really look, which can have an impact on their emotional state," he said. "I want them to realize that when they take a selfie they are in essence looking into a portable funhouse mirror."


Paskhover sought a better way to explain to patients why they cannot use selfies to evaluate their nose size so they can improve their self-perception and make more informed decisions about their health. He worked with Ohad Fried, a research fellow at Stanford University's Department of Computer Science, to develop a mathematical model that shows nasal distortion created by photos taken at close range.


The Rutgers-Stanford model, published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, shows that an average selfie, taken about 12 inches from the face, makes the nasal base appear approximately 30 percent wider and the nasal tip 7 percent wider than if the photograph had been taken at 5 feet, a standard portrait distance that provides a more proportional representation of facial features.


The mathematical model is based on the average head and facial feature measurements obtained from a selection of racially and ethnically diverse participants. The model determined the magnitude of the distortive effect by presenting the face as a collection of parallel planes perpendicular to the main camera axis. It calculated the changes to the ratio between the nose's breadth and the width between the two cheekbones at various camera distances.


How selfies drive people's self-image is a public health issue, Paskhover said. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, reports that 55 percent of surgeons say people come to them seeking cosmetic procedures for improved selfies.




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A camera on most smartphones uses a wide angle lense — it's the inherent nature of this particular lense to exaggerate and distort objects which are closer.

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23 minutes ago, dcs18 said:

A camera on most smartphones uses a wide angle lense — it's the inherent nature of this particular lense to exaggerate and distort objects which are closer.


I agreed. For less distortion, it has be a 35-mm to 50-mm equivalent lense. Most photographers swear by the 50mm.

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Yep, traditional photographers (like myself) have tended to start-out with the 50mm because (in those days) it matched the perspective of the human (eye) and serious enthusiasts/pros. could also pump-up their game with a fixed aperture of f/1.4 or even f/1.2.


Times have changed, though —  modern photographers seem to consider 85mm as the new normal lense.


Since I'm into tabletop, my most frequently used lense has been the 60mm. :wub:

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Michael Jackson started out modestly enough — by just wanting a different nose. In the end, after up to 100 procedures, he was desperately trying to repair the damage done by reckless and botched operations and injections...

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