Your face is somewhere in our stories

Published 12:08 am Friday, February 22, 2008

Have you ever looked at a baby’s face and marveled at that tiny face staring back?

It is one the most mesmerizing things to me.

I love to watch the almost instantaneous changes in a infant’s face. What begins as a look of curiosity changes to joy and surprise and then suddenly transforms to sadness and frustration almost as fast as it takes to read this sentence.

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By the end of a baby’s first year, an infant can express an infinite number of emotions all without uttering a word.

Such moments are evidence to me that the face may be the human body’s most primal form of communication.

Just think about how complicated the face really is.

You may not think of it as a muscular body part, but your face has lots of muscles. Check them out next time you look in the mirror. Not all facial muscles attach directly to bone like they do in the rest of the body. Many of them attach to each other, allowing you to make dozens of faces. Even the smallest movement can turn a smile into a frown. You can raise your eyebrow to look surprised or wiggle your nose.

And that is not the most amazing thing about faces.

The most remarkable thing may be that there is not one face that is like another in the entire world. Even in most identical twins there is some blemish or marking that reveals how unique we human beings really are.

Scientists say that one of the most recognizable images among humans is that of the face.

Maybe it is something that is hard wired into our brains. Maybe we value something that is like us.

Whatever the reason, society has placed great importance on the face.

Chasing after that elusive ideal face, consumers spend billions of dollars on the cosmetics industry.

One of the fastest growing sectors in the field of medicine is that of the plastic surgery and laser treatments that promise higher cheekbones and blemish-free skin.

Of course there are those that rebel against such ideals with tattoos and other defiant forms of decoration.

On Sunday, The Natchez Democrat will offer a look at the faces of the Miss-Lou in our annual Profile edition.

For the past few months, the writers and photographers have been studying not just individual faces but also the collective face of the Miss-Lou.

While we have been interviewing twins and triplets, we have also been asking ourselves what does the face of the Miss-Lou look like.

We have been looking at our history that defines our heritage and looking at our future to discover our aspirations.

Such questions not only look at the human face but they also look past the individual and try to discover the uniqueness of our world in and around Natchez.

On Sunday morning we welcome you to sit down and enjoy seeing what the face of the Miss-Lou looks like.

And if you happen to lose your copy, we welcome you to read this year’s Profile edition online.

After several years of not offering our annual issue on the Web, Profile will return to the computer screen this year.

The site will include the same stories and photographs published in Profile along with the advertisers that make our annual issue possible each year.

Whether you read the print edition with your morning cup of coffee or read the online edition before you go to bed, our hope is that you will recognize your face somewhere in the stories of Profile 2008.

Ben Hillyer is the Web editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at