Peter Hurley is a New York-based portrait photographer who specialises in making people look much better than they do IRL. He does this through squinching: a natty portmanteau of squinting and pinching that Hurley has been teaching to photographers for several years (he has been working on it for the best part of a decade) as a means of ensuring their subjects avoid the unflattering deer-in-the-headlights look.
Hurley’s 15-minute tutorial, part of a video series that also celebrates the jawline – “It’s all about the jaw!” – came out in 2013. It has recently gone viral (currently nudging 2m hits), probably because it’s the go-to facial pose on Instagram and the red carpet, usurping 2013’s sleeper hit “the sparrowface” (eyes wide and mouth slightly open, like you’re about to eat a worm), model favourite “the smize” (smiling with your eyes) and the wildly popular “duckface” (pouting your lips to duckbill-like proportions). Cara Delevingne, Kylie Jenner, Karlie Kloss? All recent converts to the church of squinching.
As Hurley explains, squinching is all about creating self-confidence when you have none. To wit: fear and uncertainty make our eyes open. Squinching, on the other hand, is about closing your eyes, which, following Hurley’s logic, makes us look less afraid and more certain. Of what, we don’t know, but here’s a three-step guide to looking infinitely better than you really do.
1. First, narrow the distance between your lower eyelid and your pupil by pulling up the palpebral ligament, which runs along the bottom of the eye. Basically, squint a bit.
2. Now, bring the top eyelid down. Again, it helps to imagine you’re squinting, just a bit less.
3. Pose to dazzling effect.