Within just minutes after being born, they say, babies can already recognize--and prefer to look at--the human face over any other image or pattern. It's burned into our psyches, I think. There's a phenomenon where even grown-up people think they see human faces in things like grilled cheese sandwiches or turtle bellies, or in the scorch marks on the surface of an electric iron. (Incidentally, if such an image is thought to be of a religious figure, this perception is known as a simulacrum. The more you know . . .) I, myself, once saw the image of [insert Name of Religious Figure here] under a viaduct near my house:
That's the viaduct. Now here's a close-up of the simulacrum:
Ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaa. I jest. But there's no question that we humans have an ability to group any set of random visual elements that vaguely resemble two eyes and a mouth together and perceive the grouping as a human face, a gestalt, if you like. So perhaps that's why full-frontal, face compositions crop up on book jackets from time to time. They quickly catch our eye. Here are a few I spotted recently:
Beyond the Mask by David Ward (Scholastic Canada, 2006), a YA fantasy. It takes less than a second to see the "face."
This one jumped out at me the other day. It's Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith (Little, Brown, 2007), a fantasy YA. An irresistible image with an attention-grabbing chartreuse cover.
And third, have you seen this next one yet?
This is Happyface, by Stephen Emond (Little, Brown, 2010) a novel told (mostly) in illustrations and journal entries. Impossible not to notice this if it's facing out on the shelf. I don't have it here in front of me, but if I remember correctly, the jacket covers only the bottom 2/3 of the book, which is off topic, but kinda cool.
What about you? Seen any fresh faces lately?