Last week I was honoured to be asked to talk to the Medical Artists’ Association www.maa.org.uk at the Royal College of Surgeons. Here is a summary part 1. of the Art of Age Progression….

I found this definition of ageing on wikipedia……Ageing is the accumulation of changes in an organism or object over time. Aging in humans refers to a multidimensional process of physical, psychological, and social change. Some dimensions of aging grow and expand over time, while others decline.

I studied illustration and photography at Maidstone Art college and after a few years, joined the Missing People Charity where I learnt all the different skills to become a forensic artist. This included training at the FBI Academy in Quantico in 2D and 3D facial reconstruction  – witness interviewing and E-Fit training at Durham with the British Police, Age Progression training at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington. And last but not least – the Medical Art Post graduate course.

Here are some of the images I produced – I tried to incorporate the forensic art into my Medical Art course as this was my line of work at the time. From 1997 to 2004 I worked for the Missing People Charity – I started as a volunteer then moved into case work, looking after the families of those who had gone missing. I then moved into the Identification department and started to learn forensic art, which included child age progression for long term missing children, facial reconstruction from skeletal remains, sanitizing photos of people found dead and updating photos of missing adults, i.e. changing hairstyles etc I also helped police to match missing persons reports with those found unidentified, dead or alive.

Age progressions are normally done for three reasons……

Firstly and most importantly, they are used when someone has been missing for two or more years and there has been sufficient time for appearances to change. The age progression image normally renews publicity and media interest in a case, therefore the case stays pro-active, supporting families and hopefully finding the person safe.

Secondly, age progressions are produced by or for police to try to capture criminals.

Thirdly, age progressions are often used in the media to illustrate to people the damaging effects of for example, smoking, drinking and sunbathing as a kind of a shock tactic.

Missing Person April Fabb

This is the case of missing person April Fabb – she was 13 when she disappeared on her bicycle in Norfolk, never to be seen again. She would now be in her mid 50’s.

Here I started off with a reference photograph in colour of a lady in her 50’s. I then used that as my main reference photo. I had pictures of her parents in their 50’s and used those as reference, Each age progression is different, and sometimes I’ll merge the missing photo with that of a family member. It just depends on what I have to work with.

Effectively, you are piecing together a puzzle using reference pictures of family members – here lie the clues as to how someone is going to look when they are older. Ultimately, I’m always hopeful that I’ll maintain the proportions and ‘unique look’ of that person.

Part 2 continues later…..

www.changemyface.com

www.missingpeople.org.uk

How Leslie may have looked without the trout pout….I think she would have aged very beautifully. This is Leslie as she is now and below, my age progression image showing how she may have looked without any cosmetic intervention….however, we need to take into account her illness and stress – all these contribute to the ageing process. This was commissioned by Closer magazine. You can see how you would look with enhanced lips at www.changemyface.com

Leslie Ash shopping Kings Rd

700403sw

www.changemyface.com

An image has been created of Anne Frank to show how she would look on her 80th birthday. I feel the image is not entirely up to date – she looks like an elderly woman from the 1950’s. However, to be fair, the image is sympathetically constructed…

anne frank

The ‘age progression’ image shows the diarist as she might have appeared today had she not died of typhus and starvation at the age of 15 in Bergen Belsen in March 1945, just a few weeks before the Nazi concentration camp was liberated by British troops.

Created for the Anne Frank Trust UK to mark her birthday on Friday – using the same techniques developed to artificially age missing people such as toddler Madeleine McCann – it is hoped the picture will help inspire Britain’s school children to think about the kind of lives they would like to lead, and to remember the loss of six million people in the Holocaust.

The Trust will launch a competition for children to write a letter to their 80-year-old selves, one of a number of projects being run across the world to mark the anniversary and challenge racist attitudes.

Anne’s half-sister Eva Schloss, a survivor of Auschwitz who played with her as a child in Amsterdam, saw the aged image for the first time on Thursday.

“I must say I was a bit shocked… I don’t really know why,” she said.

“It is a beautiful lady, very gentle, very kind-looking with this gentle smile.”

The aged image was produced by a Michigan firm called Phojoe which has worked with US police on dozens of missing persons cases.

The firm describes the technique as “part art, part science and a little intuition”, and bases its aged image on whatever photographs are available – which in Anne Franks’ case were of a carefree young girl.

Dr Schloss believes the loss of her mother and sister and Anne’s experiences in Auschwitz and then Bergen Belsen would have left their mark if she had lived, however.

“Personally I think she would have been more bitter and disappointed. I don’t see anything of this in the picture.”

Anne’s diary, which was first published in Dutch in 1947 and has since been translated into more than 60 different languages, details her time hiding from the Nazis with her Jewish family in Amsterdam.

Link to Telegraph article

changemyface – age progression, cosmetic surgery imaging and slimmer imaging

I am fast approaching 40 and wondering – what makes us age, why does it happen and can we slow the ageing process down? It seems every morning,  I wake up to a new wrinkle and a few more grey hairs and my thoughts turn to getting old and dying…..Auriole Prince found this article which explains what happens in our bodies to make us age and what we can do to slow the process down…

lucy-age-progressions1

Lucy was age progressed by changemyface to reflect her unhealthy lifestyle.

www.changemyface.com

Why we age

Ageing is the result of a build-up of damage in our bodies’ cells

Ageing is the result of a build-up of damage in our bodies’ cells. It takes a long time for the damage to get to a level where it may harm us, but eventually we can no longer overlook it.

The protein fibres keeping our skin and artery walls elastic go through changes that lead to loss of that vital flexibility. The DNA strands inside our cells get damaged, too. Ultimately, the cells’ energy production systems fail.

An important type of damage is oxidisation, the result of attacks by free radicals. Oxidisation rusts metal, makes fat go rancid and causes browning of peeled fruits and vegetables. It also helps to make us age.

Our bodies have evolved powerful antioxidant enzymes to guard cells against free radicals, but these defences aren’t 100 per cent.

Role of genes

Longevity tends to run in families. The genes influencing the ageing process seem to be those that influence how well the body maintains and repairs its cells.

The risk of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s also appears also to have a genetic component.

Lifestyle factors

We can control some aspects of the process

Ageing isn’t all down to our genes. We can control some aspects of the process.

The lifestyle choices we make are important. We can eat food that burdens our bodies with saturated fats, for example, or we can eat food that’s high in natural antioxidants to aid the body’s defences.

We can exercise so our natural systems for renewal and repair keep our muscles, lungs and blood circulatory system in good shape, and we can stretch our minds to reinforce the networks of connection between brain cells.

Uncertain future

We know ageing catches up with all of us in the end, but we don’t know exactly what lies in store.

Some people keep their mental faculties intact until they’re 100, while others can get dementia in their 50s. Some people retain their mobility, but others with conditions such as arthritis find it more difficult.

This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks in July 2007.
First published in March 2000. www.bbc.co.uk/health

We’re always interested in the ageing process and how much of it is determined by genes and how much is determined by environmental factors. This study looking at identical twins confirms that external factors significantly contribute to the ageing process. We found this article in Aesthetic Medicine Magazine:

twinstudy1

A new study involving identical twins has suggested that despite genetic make-up, certain environmental factors, such as the use of antidepressants, can add years to a person’s perceived age.

Results published on the web version of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), show that factors such as divorce or the use of antidepressants can be significantly ageing.

Dr Bahaman Guyuron, ASPS member surgeon and study author, professor and chairman, department of plastic surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, said, “In this study, we looked at identical twins because they are genetically programmed to age exactly the same, and in doing so we essentially discovered that, when it comes to your face, it is possible to cheat your biological clock.”

During the study, Guyuron and colleagues obtained comprehensive questionnaires and digital images from 186 pairs of identical twins. The images were reviewed by an independent panel, who then recorded the perceived age difference between the siblings.

The results revealed that twins who had been divorced appeared nearly two years older than their siblings who were married, single or even widowed.

Antidepressant use was associated with a significantly older appearance and weight too was found to play a major factor. In those sets of twins who were less than 40 years old, the heavier twin was perceived as being older, while in those groups over 40 years old, the heavier twin appeared younger.

“The presence of stress could be one of the common denominators in those twins who appeared older,” commented Guyuron. Additionally, researchers thought that continued relaxation of the facial muscles owing to antidepressant use, could account for sagging.

“This research is important for two reasons,” said Guyuron. “First, we have discovered a number of new factors that contribute to aging and second, our findings put science behind the idea that volume replacement rejuvenates the face.”

www.aestheticmagazine.co.uk

SHE MAGAZINE

How will 3 women with different lifestyles look in 20 years time – depending on their lifestyles – very differently! You can see the whole article in November’s issue of SHE.



I was invited to the preview evening of Professor Von Hagen’s new Bodyworlds Show at the O2 in London. Not only can you see his beautifully plastinated bodies (and a great surprise at the end of the exhibition) but also learn more about the ageing process and what happens to our bodies as we get older. It’s really worth a view.To get more info go to www.bodyworlds.com

But what really happens to us as we age? The process starts in mid our mid 20’s and the way we age comes mainly down to our genes but also to external environmental factors and these are the main perpertrators:

  • Sun damage
  • Repetitive facial expressions
  • Gravity
  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Stress
  • Nutrition
  • Pollution

However, none of us will really escape getting older so here are some of the ageing processes that happen to everyone:

  • Gravity – everything goes south eventually
  • Facial expressions cause wrinkles, especially around the eyes and mouth area
  • Skin loses elasticity
  • Hair becomes grey and more brittle

Aging Skin Net explains more:

What happens to your skin as you get older? As the body ages, the appearance and characteristics of the skin change. Visible ageing of the skin starts at about age 25 as the natural regenerative process begin to slow. The skin replaces old cells more slowly and there is a slower turnover of the surface skin and slower wound healing. After age 45, a thinning of the skin begins, due in part, to hormonal changes. This thinning make the skin more fragile and vulnerable to damage by abrasion and more sensitive to irritating environmental factors and allergens. The coils of collagen and elastin suffer cuts and crosslinking damage and as a result, the skin loses much of it’s strength and elasticity. The moisture holding proteoglycans and GAGs decrease in abundance, making the skin become dryer and looser. The skin loses fat, so it looks less plump and smooth. The number of blood vessels in your skin decreases, and the skin loses its youthful color and glow.

While all these changes are taking place, gravity is also at work, pulling at the skin, causing it to sag. Wrinkles around the eyes are a characteristic signs of skin damage. The skin tends to heal more slowly and minor blemishes develop. In addition, this aging process can be exacerbated by factors such as extremes of cold or heat, excessive sun (UV radiation), psychological stress, and improper nutrition. The effects of photodamage can be seen by comparing skin in areas exposed to sun to areas usually covered. Exposed skin has mottled hyperpigmentation while the nonexposed skin is usually clearer and paler.

During aging the oil-producing (sebaceous) glands become less active, and your skin becomes drier. The skin becomes more sensitive to the use of harsh soaps and disinfectants which more easily damage skin. We have a natural oil covering our skin named sebum, which is produced by glands in the skin. When the oil is removed by frequent use of drying agents, such as soap, the skin becomes dry which can lead to cracking and flaking. Once cracking occurs the skin is susceptible to inflammation and itching. Everyday factors that may cause drying of the skin include harsh soaps, long hot baths or showers. In our modern culture, most people overdo skin cleansing.

http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/basicfacts.html

Embarrassing Teenage Bodies

October 27, 2008

Channel 4’s Embarrassing Teenage Bodies this week … We show how a sunbed obsessed teenager will look at her mother’s age. Did you know that if you use a sunbed once a week, you are 50% more susceptible to skin cancer?

We also worked with Cancer Research UK to show how singer Sandi Thom will look as she ages over using sunbeds.