Dillon Marsh Imagines Expressive Faces on Rural Abandoned Houses

All photos by Dillon Marsh. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Like many creatives, photographers are often trained to spot details that can serve as elements of interest in their photos. These often include textures, shapes, and patterns, but it’s also not unheard of to see faces in random places. We have pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon of seeing faces in nature or everyday objects, to thank for making it easier to indulge in this creative exercise. Today’s featured work by Cape Town-based fine art photographer Dillon Marsh is a great application of this phenomenon. So if you’re looking for a fun photography project to boost your creativity, this series could give you some ideas.

According to Marsh, these small abandoned farmhouses are scattered across rural South Africa. They all sport the same simple design, with the door at the center, in between two windows. With pareidolia at work, it was easy for him to see the resemblance of this design to an expressive face. He takes this up a notch and said, “Viewed collectively, they can be imagined as a choir in full song.” Put all these together and you have the title Swan Song.

Part documentary photography, part architectural photography, this series is just one of Marsh’s visual explorations of the various imagery he finds in cities and nature. Another example is Contours, which features a bird’s eye view of curious landscapes with “a variety of shapes and symbols that defy interpretation.” If Contours was about challenging our perceptions to speculate what the otherworldly formations could possibly be, Swan Song encourages us to let our imagination run free with playful ideas. So, if you’re stuck with your creative projects, this could be something to help you get back on track.

Check out Dillon Marsh’s website and Behance portfolio to explore the rest of his work.