Ever since Tyra Banks coined the term "smizing," we've been smiling with our eyes like any well-trained top model. The newest trend in taking a photogenic snap? It’s called "squinching." We caught up with the man who coined the phrase, photographer Peter Hurley, to find out everything there is to know about this flattering facial pose.
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WomensHealthMag.com: What exactly is squinching?
Peter Hurley: Squinching is narrowing the distance between your lower eyelids and pupils. It's a matter of raising your lower eyelids up while your upper eyelids barely move—whereas squinting is when both eyelids move. There's a ligament under your eye called the palpebral ligament and a muscle around the eye called the orbicularis oculi. Engaging the muscle and ligament are what help us create a genuine smile. Our eyes do it a lot when we're in conversation. But in pictures, the eyes open up if we're unsure what to do with our faces, and people can become very vacant looking.
In my work, I want people to appear confident—and confidence comes from the eyes. Narrowing the eyes is how it happens. It makes you look like you have your act together, and it gives you way more sex appeal. It also gives a sense that you're "up to something," and people are intrigued by that. It makes people wonder what you're thinking about, which makes them want to look at the image.
I used to model, and I sort of learned it through that. Then, I picked up a camera in 2000. As a photographer, I used to tell people to squint, but it isn't really squinting. I'd have to say, "Okay, squint. Not so much. Can you do it less?" When I isolated the lids is when it really took off.
It's not ethnicity-based or about the shape of your eye. The energy coming out of your face is totally changed by these muscles. Go into the mirror and watch yourself do it. We all have independent control of our lower eyelids. You do it every day without realizing it. Just when you're in front of the camera, you need to take conscious control over your facial expression.