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Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009
Face of Peterborough to use 3,000 photos
Face Research Lab result from two photos
The software combines photos of faces and makes an average

Do the people of Peterborough paint a pretty picture? Artist Christopher Wiles is about to find out.

Using software called Pshycomorph Christopher plans to capture 3,000 photos of Peterborians.

The computer will then take an average of all the faces which Christopher will use as inspiration for a painting.

He told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Paul Stainton: "I don't mind whether you're ugly or pretty, I just need as many portrait faces as possible."

The software, supplied by the Face Research Laboratory based at Aberdeen University, collects shots of human faces and then combines them to create one image, which is described as an average of all the originals.

Christopher is basing himself at Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery for the weekend of 12-13 December and is inviting members of the public to come and volunteer themselves towards the Face of Peterborough.

Famous residents

He will also include the Peterborough United squad, local schools and visitors to the Queensgate shopping centre in the project, with the aim of producing a final piece for the city's art gallery.

"All those thousands of photographs will create one face which will be the face of Peterborough," he said. "From that face I'm going to make an eight foot reality drawing within the gallery.

"It will be an average of every photo I take. It will be a merged version of the average face of Peterborough."

Between February and April, 2010, Christopher will spend his days in the museum creating a pen and ink version of the average face of Peterborough.

The project kicks off an exhibition called Peterborough's People which will take a look at the city's most famous residents and ask the public to vote for who they think will be a star of the future.

The software from the Face Research Laboratory is designed to find people's preferences when it comes to particular facial characteristics.

Christopher is using the technology for artistic purposes but has found, in his experience, that the results can be quite fetching.

He said: "Usually the averages work out to be quite attractive faces."

Only time will tell if Peterborough's average face is a pretty one or if it's pretty average.

Where you can join in

Peterborough Museum Christmas Fayre - Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 December, 2009

Queensgate Shopping Centre - Sunday 20 December, 2009

The Key Theatre - Sunday 20 December, 2009

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