Mar 01, 2016
“I’m extremely curious and extremely determined. If I want something, I will do anything to get it,” says Eric Standop. To look at Standop is to see a man whose determination is offset by the disarming charm of a savant and a gaze that goes straight to your soul. With these qualities it’s no surprise that Standop is one of the world’s most prolific face readers. Originally from Karlsruhe in Germany, he has spent the last 12 years studying the ancient art with masters in Germany, Colombia and China, and has since acquired his own master status. Today, he travels the world unlocking people’s health and potential by simply studying their face.
He has become a different person to the man who began his journey a dozen years ago. His extreme determination saw him slaving away in management roles to the point of exhaustion. “They used to call me the ‘Jack Russell’. The character of that dog really suited me, I went after everything.” Standop, 49, admits to still having a “fiery” personality but outwardly is an image of calm: dressed in a loosely cut suit in deep hues of grey. He smiles at the thought of his younger self, but says his passion these days is directed towards helping others unlock their potential.
As unlikely as it all may seem, Standop says face reading makes perfect sense. “The brain is connected via the facial nerve with the muscles of your face, and the nervus vagus and the nervus trigeminus are all connected to your organs.”
All communication begins in the face, he says. “All of our senses are located in the face: to see, to smell, to hear, to taste, even to feel. Babies put everything in their mouths first. You’ll notice that children are extremely good face readers – it begins with instinct and intuition.”
Standop returned to Germany on a quest to become the world’s best face reader. He found a master and studied under him for 18 months. He learned about facial diagnosis that reveals one’s health status, and physiognomy, a technique that is said to be able to uncover personality and character traits.
He accompanied his master in his work and read faces fanatically in every location possible across Europe, from marketplaces to prisons, in kindergartens and for big corporates.
Once he’d absorbed all he could, Standop ventured to South America and to Colombia, where he met his next master on the street.
“His health knowledge was poor, but then he spoke about love, and I had never heard someone speak about love in the face like that before. It makes sense: We know that someone looks different when they’re in love.”
The final stage to unlocking the art in face reading brought him to China, where face reading has some of its deepest roots. He took to Siang Mien, a 3,000-year-old Taoist practice of interpreting destiny and a life’s purpose from the face. With all of the influences in his work, he claims his personal style is a patchwork of visual cues deeply rooted in different cultures and times that he calls “freestyle”.
A session is demanding for both parties, lasting up to six hours. “When I read, I go into the details. I stimulate inside of me that intuition which we lost as kids, or which we had in ancient times, and combine it with the vocabulary and expression I’ve learned over the years,” he explains. “What I do might look like a talent or a gift, but I’m just fluent in a language that I believe we are all connected to.”
Above all, his practice has shown Standop that our destinies are not fixed. “I have what the Chinese call a hanging needle,” he says pointing to a vertical furrow in his brow above his nose. “The German way is to say I can be very stubborn, focused. Sounds very negative, doesn’t it? But in the Chinese way, a hanging needle means someone is determined, knows where they’re going, and is very reliable. You can live each feature in a winning or losing way. It’s a choice.”