found faces


The wallpaper in the bathroom of my grandmother’s house was a repeating marbled pattern with blue and white, looking a bit like swirled paint. There were no clear shapes in the swirls, but my eyes found faces in them. Sometimes the faces would scare me a bit when I was little, especially when I’d need to get up to use the bathroom in the night. In my memory I can still make out the faces (2 men with beards, one young and one old, and a young woman) though the house is no longer in our family, and the wallpaper is no doubt gone. (I really can’t imagine that the new owners of the old house would have kept that wallpaper.)

I sometimes still see faces in other places, and I know I am not alone in this.¹ Here are a few of the faces that have appeared to me in the blotchy or peeling paint of various surfaces.


A column in a subway station in Boston.³


A wall on an abandoned building in a town outside Boston.


A wall in Providence, RI.

Do you see the faces in these photos? Do you find faces in other places yourself?


¹ I have a friend who started a tumblr to share photos of the found faces that she has come across. And Archie has mentioned his own found faces a couple of times
² For that matter, the face finding feature of iPhoto has also been known to find faces in other objects.
³ This photo was from November 2, 2012–one year ago today. After finding a photo to post yesterday from November 1st of a previous year, I went poking to see what other photos I had in my library from November 2nd when I looked to find something to post today.⁴
⁴ And the reason that I was looking for something to post today is that I have decided to do NaBloPoMo again this year for November, and post daily for the month. I think this marks the 7th year that I done this.

6 thoughts on “found faces

  1. Ooh, that top one is just eerie! There was a famous “face” in a stone column on the UC Berkeley campus: Jimi Hendrix. Somehow, though, when I returned to campus years after graduation, Jimi was gone! A mystery!!

    Facebook once tried to tag a face in my photo of a Turkish flatbread.

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