Looking at faces and remembering them


Jacques Penry, Looking at faces and remembering them. A guide to facial identification, 1971

Jacques Penry was a photographer. Fascinated by facial topography, in 1939 he published his book How to read character from the face. There was, Penry claimed in it, a direct link between any human’s physique and their personality: philosophers, for example, would show a marked development of the lower cheek muscles, while idiots and simpletons would invariably possess a markedly receding forehead. Jacques Penry claimed that he could deduce a person’s character from their face in an instant.
Following the Penry-method of facial classification, he claimed, one could cleanse society of “criminals, mental deficits, neurasthenics and vocational misfits.”
In 1968, Jacques Penry presented his photo-fit system to the Home Office in London. The kits come in wooden boxes, containing narrow paper strips with various facial features and an index listing the contents: eyes, noses, mouths, haircuts, chins, roughly 40 in each category. There are transparencies for add-ons, such as glasses, facial hairs or wrinkles, and a frame on which the individual parts can be assembled.
Photo-FIT was first used in relation to the murder of James Cameron in Islington in October 1970.

Other Jacques Penry's book: The face of man, 1952

Images source: Flickr's shihlun