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Changing Faces
George Tscherny’s Changing Faces reminds us that movement wasn’t always the product of cinema, animated GIFs, or Flash files. His collection of heads, bodies, and faces in motion appear nostalgic at first, but upon closer inspection reveal a fascination with two-dimensional foundations and the intricacies of the printing process. In his introduction, Tscherny explains how he came upon this fascination for the human form. Through the face, “…motion expresses emotion.”

Spanning over a century’s worth of expressive ephemera, Tscherny demonstrates how story telling and animation erupted from the applied arts. This is not an argument about high versus low, it’s an historical investigation. Everything’s fair game—even shadow puppets. The author gives details about the nature of advertising and communication, while some examples are simply included for fun: 19th Century satire, Paula Scher’s 1992 self-portrait, or the 1952 Mr. Potato Head (you supply the potato from ma’s fridge). Sometimes, you turn the book upside down, sideways, and long ways to see comical revelations and punch lines. For the daring, trim out images that require folding, curving, and manipulating.

Through Tscherny’s commentary, we learn about evolutions in hairstyle or the difference between analog and digital movement. Whether Tscherny points out that images in sequence create movement or precise registration posed printing challenges, the author reminds us that whimsy can exist in the applied arts (yes, that includes design too).

My biggest criticism with the designer’s bookshelf is that they’re loaded with far too many design monographs and award annuals. Changing Faces could occupy a place in that collection that’s someplace between design and art. And perhaps after reading it as I did, you’ll return to the book and realize that whether you’re registering a five-color wood cut or building your traps with Illustrator, it’s the concept we remember most.

Book Information
Changing Faces by George Tscherny
132 pages, Softcover
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
ISBN: 1568984804
Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Oct.04.2004 BY Jason A. Tselentis