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Gabor wavelets are widely employed in face representation to decompose face images into their spatial-frequency domains. The Gabor wavelet transform, however, introduces very high dimensional data. To reduce this dimensionality, uniform sampling of Gabor features has traditionally been used. Since uniform sampling equally treats all the features, it can lead to a loss of important features while retaining trivial ones. In this paper, we propose a new face representation method that employs nonuniform multilevel selection of Gabor features. The proposed method is based on the local statistics of the Gabor features and is implemented using a coarse-to-fine hierarchical strategy. Gabor features that correspond to important face regions are automatically selected and sampled finer than other features. The nonuniformly extracted Gabor features are then classified using principal component analysis and/or linear discriminant analysis for the purpose of face recognition. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed method, experiments have been conducted on benchmark face image databases where the images vary in illumination, expression, pose, and scale. Compared with the methods that use the original gray-scale image with 4096-dimensional data and uniform sampling with 2560-dimensional data, the proposed method results in a significantly higher recognition rate, with a substantial lower dimension of around 700. The experimental results also show that the proposed method works well not only when multiple sample images are available for training but also when only one sample image is available for each person. The proposed face representation method has the advantages of low complexity, low dimensionality, and high discriminance.