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Models, Mannequins, Dolls and Beautified Faces: A Semiotic and Philosophical Approach to the Sense of Beauty

  • Dondero, Maria Giulia
Publication Date
Jun 15, 2022
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peer reviewed / The goal of this paper is to contrast the representation of models in photography (fashion and fine art photography), as well as certain kinds of inanimate beauty (Barbie dolls, mannequins), with the average faces constructed by algorithms serving to identify and reproduce beauty. What are the similarities and differences between inanimate objects, characterized by faces devoid of singularities and comparable to sorts of angelic faces, and the algorithmic parameters through which beauty and attractiveness are calculated and predicted? This paper will apply an enunciative semiotic analysis to photographic corpora, propose philosophical reflections on the categories of beauty, and will show that the conception of beauty changes from corpus to corpus and from one cultural domain to the other (fine art, advertising, entertainment and so on). The end of the paper states that beauty has to do with a perfect gradation between stillness and movement in the case of the models seen in fashion photography, between neutrality and expressivity for mannequins, and between singularity and multiplicity for dolls such as Barbie, and that, in the algorithmic fabrication of beautiful faces, it is linked with an enhancement of the compactness of the structure of the face.

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