Every face tells a story

Visiting Auckland resident Billie Zagni looks at a computer image in the Otago Museum's "Your...
Visiting Auckland resident Billie Zagni looks at a computer image in the Otago Museum's "Your Face Now" exhibition, simulating her likely appearance at the age of 72 if she had become obese and not protected herself from cumulative sun damage. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The Otago Museum is inviting visitors to face up to the future in an unusual way, through a do-it-yourself face-changing show.

"Your Face Now", the museum's latest free exhibition, allows visitors to photograph themselves at a computer camera booth and then manipulate their appearance in many ways.

They can explore the effects of normal ageing, as well as considering the visual effect of excessive weight gain and cumulative sun damage to the skin.

After opening last weekend, the show attracted more than 1000 visits on Sunday, and had remained popular with the public since, organisers said.

Auckland resident Jan Geary, who was visiting Dunedin with her daughter, Billie Zagni, said the show was "great", highlighting the effect of a healthy lifestyle on likely future appearance and also showing the adverse effects of smoking and obesity.

Miss Zagni (21), a third-year law student at Auckland University, said the exhibition was "really cool".

At one stage she was confronted by a somewhat startling vision of herself at the age of 72, if she had gained excessive weight and not protected her face against the cumulative effect of sun damage.

The face-changing software was a good reminder to her of the importance of protecting herself against excessive sun exposure, she said.

Museum exhibitions, development and planning director Clare Wilson said the show offered "an exciting blend of reality and technology" and was a "great fun exhibition" for families during summer.

After taking a photograph of themselves, visitors can discover many things, including what they would look like with a completely symmetrical face, or if they merged their looks with those of their partner, or family members.

Visitors who have created computerised images of themselves can also send them to their own email address, enabling them to be reused whenever required.

The show runs until July 3 at the Special Exhibitions Gallery. john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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