Face in the Sand 2015


A blogger friend Steve Schwartzman writes Portraits of Wildflowers, from which I draw both wisdom and inspiration.  Recently, I’d commented on one of his photographs showing various ripples in the sand and he in turn taught me the word “pareidolia.”

Pareidolia is basically a type of illusion of phenomenon wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern in nature or things.  Like seeing the face of Jesus in a potato chip, the Man in the Moon, seeing animal shapes in clouds or, in my case, seeing Salvador Dali in the rill mark image, above.  Or maybe it’s Edgar Allen Poe.  I don’t see ALL of him, just the most of the top of his face before alien rill marks melts the rest away.  One of my all time favorite passions is to go out at low tide and take photos of the rill marks that occur at low tide as the sea drains back into the ocean.  I’ve spotted dragons, women, amoebas and Christmas trees as well as all manner of abstracts.  All lovingly captured and set aside.  I seem to be the only one who thinks these images are amusing or captivating.  Maybe, just maybe, there are others out there.

So, do you see Salvador Dali?  Have you ever experienced pareidolia?  If so, do tell!



  1. Hi Debi…….now I do this all the time too, but didn’t know that it has a name. I have found at least seven faces in your picture. My favourite source is twist pile rugs and such like and where you find two eyes invariably you can see the rest of the face. I’m told that the first thing that we recognise as a child is our mother’s face… must be wired into the brain…..and is quite remarkable because we can easily recognise a familiar face amongst thousands….it’s a shame that I no longer remember their name!

    1. Seven?! Time for a relook! I, too, wasn’t aware it had a name so imagine my fascination. I’m constantly seeing faces of people and animals in our ceramic tile in the bath and kitchen. I’m glad to know it’s not just me! One source I read said “it’s not a sign of madness but a well-wired brain.” So THAT’S a good thing, eh? Love your photography, my friend!

      1. Well wired, or short circuiting…….hmmm there’s a little madness in us all.
        Not doing too much snapping at the moment…..need a project…, that’s not true, I have a project photographing the gradual rebuilding of a boat down at the harbour…they want a picture book, but, perhaps it’s winter blues, but I haven’t got the get up and go to get up and go finish it

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