For Stargardtiens faces are difficult to recognise. It is usually already a challenge to figure out if the person is  looking at you or not. The distinguishing of facial expressions is only possible in particularly good light and only when the facial expressions are clear. This is an limiting factor when dealing with other people.

 Some time ago I was in a restaurant having a dinner with a young family. The grandparents, a great-aunt and other relatives and friends were there too. The toddler was at the center of attention - after all, it was his second birthday - and has entertained the whole table. In particular, the various mothers and aunts were continuously amused about the facial expressions of the little one, when he tried to imitate facial expressions or ate for the first time in his life a slice of tomato. And then came inevitably to the discussion, whom the youngest member of the family resembles most. Has he now the nose from the paternal grandfather or rather from the mother? And do the ears come more after uncle Joe or the father? By the way, from whom has the father inherited his ears anyway? Both types of table discussion deal with a level of detail that I can not see. A face appears to me always something mask-like, fine structures or emotions do not penetrate through it. A beaming smile comes through, but not a timid now. The frown or the questioning look gets to me only when it's apparent in the rest of body language or accompanied by sound or language. Pain or grief are particularly difficult to detect since they are often silent. Is the person now thoughtful, just absent-minded, or even dozed off, and therefore has his head down? It happened to me once that I passed three times by my sister sitting silently by the phone until it dawned on me that the last call she got brought sorrow and I could comfort her. Sometimes when I stand close to a person that I know for a long time and the light is favourable  I see her face for the first time properly. I am then amazed and a little startled about the amount of detail which opens up to me so suddenly: the colour of the eyes, the laugh lines around them, the curve of the lips etc. But these moments are only snapshots, which stand alone next to the usual mask.

Back to the restaurant: In the usually dark lighting (meant to be cosy) of the restaurant I could barely make out the infant, certainly not his face. So for the Who-resembles-who-game I nodded approvingly or replied neutrally. And with the grimaces of the little, I laughed along - not about the grimaces but more about the funny exclamations of the adults.