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 Post subject: Faces in lanterns!!!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:21 pm
Posts: 299
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Hi All,

I received an erie picture the other day of a lantern. Even though we know it's just a reflector and a lamp, add a touch of pareidolia and we have a spooky face!!!!



IMG-20170818-WA0003.jpg [ 9.94 KiB | Viewed 4513 times ]
 Post subject: Re: Faces in lanterns!!!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:21 pm
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Re: faces in lanterns.

It would take a brave soul to admit to seeing a face in this picture, even though it appears the human brain is hardwired to see faces in all sorts of inanimate objects. I would suspect many designers exploit this phenomenon too, in order to make their product as appealing as possible, although it would be interesting to find out if this applies to street lanterns.

Actually, I do have a bit of a theory on this in that many lanterns are recognisable by what could be construed to be face recognition (of a sort). It is how I recognise most of the lanterns, especially those which were around when I was growing up (around 40 years ago).

Hopefully, you will get the idea of what I'm rambling on about, before summoning for the white van!

Anyway, when I look at a lantern, it often brings back memories from years ago. Some types of lanterns in the daytime looked more aesthetically pleasing than others. Part of this was due to the lantern's outline or the way the daylight was refracted through the bowl.  Although the bowl is a clear plastic, it appears dark grey when fixed to a lantern, especially where the angle of the canopy or lamp blocks this daylight.

Now, this is where it may get tricky to put my theory across. It might sound a little weird, however I find certain lanterns look "happier" than others, almost smiling if you compare them with our own faces. Other types look neutral and even serious.

You might have got the idea by now, perhaps even encountered this yourself - then again...

The following is my own compilation in which I have listed lanterns from "Happy" "Neutral" and  "Serious". This is by no means a joke nor is it complete, though it might give any pyscho-analyists out there some food for thought!



1. Eleco GR100
2. GEC Z9530
3. Thorn Beta 5 S/E
4. Atlas Beta 3
5. Thorn Alpha 5 SLI
6. GEC Z8260


1. Thorn Gamma 6
2. GEC Z9554M)
3. Thorn Alpha 8 Mk2
4. Thorn Alpha 3
5. GEC Z9494
6. Eleco HW745


1. Thorn Alpha 6
2. GEC Z9480
3. GEC Z8524
4. Thorn Alpha 1
5. Thorn Alpha 8 Grp canopy
6. Eleco SR305

This all might appear to be taking my enthusiasm for streetlighting a little beyond what might be considered to be "healthy", however it is something which I have noticed over a long time. Interestingly, this only really works for the traditional lanterns which have been around for a long time. The new lanterns such as the Vmax and all those other young upstarts don't provoke the same affection.

As to why certain lanterns seem to be more likable than others remains a mystery, although I suspect it might be down to whether they are cut-off or semi cut-off, as well as the orientation of the lampholder. Although no longer seen much these days, the steeper the uplift on the bracket also has a more positive effect on the aesthetics of the lantern. I find post top lanterns are more tricky to assimilate to "happy, neutral or serious" although you may think different.

With regards to Andrew's picture, yes I do see the face - although it looks like it has a fair nose bleed.

"As we moved along in a little procession, I was delighted with the illumination of the streets. So many lamps and they burned until morning, my father said, and so people did not need to carry lanterns."
Mary Antin - US author & activist. 1881-1949.


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