Re: Facial Identification in Two Old Photos #latvia #photographs

Gail H. Marcus

Thanks to Odeda Zlotnick for her suggestion to try to match a bearded and clean-shaven version of someone I know, and to Jerry Scherer for his help in comparing the pictures I sent him, I think we can conclude that the software does, indeed, ignore facial hair, and instead, looks for other facial features, and that it can identify a person regardless of beards and mustaches.  For personal reasons, I don't want to post the photos.  However, for everyone's information, I can report that I sent Jerry "then and now" photos taken about 43 years apart.  There were 4 men in the earlier photo, so he was able to test the match between the bearded man in the more recent photo and each of the clean-shaven men in the older photo.  I felt that would allow us to see if there was a distinct difference between the right pairing and the wrong one.  The software gave a 91% rating to the match that I know is right, and ratings of only 17-21% when comparing the bearded man to the other people in the photo.

So I think this confirms that the software is reliable.  Which means that the man I was asking about in one of the photos I posted earlier is not a match to anyone in the other photo (all the percentages were low in that case).  This is a personal disappointment, as I was hoping that the photo with the bearded men would prove to be my family, but it is more important that I have the right answer than to continue making a wrong assumption.  I'm very grateful to Jerry for his help, and to everyone for their thoughtful suggestions.  

Gail Marcus
Bethesda, MD

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