Projects > The Face Project | Emily Watson 2011-2012

The human face is endlessly fascinating. We study faces our entire lives, beginning in infancy, and learn to read subtle shifts with extraordinary accuracy. The modeling and mimicry that is established in childhood in parent/infant relationships continues throughout our lives. We are influenced by faces both familiar and unfamiliar, by faces we encounter in our everyday lives, and those whose immense proportions on screen capture our imagination.
In The Face Project I have captured over 400 stills from Lars von Trier’s film Breaking the Waves (1996). A considerable portion of the film was shot in close-up of the main character, played by the British actress Emily Watson, whose facial range articulates perhaps the broadest variety of emotions by any actor in our era. By meticulously accumulating these stills, my goal has been to develop a unique atlas of Watson’s face and her tremendous ability to render the subtleties and nuances of inner emotions.