Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

The Masks We Wear

We wear masks for many reasons: for fun, for protection, or to make a statement. In turbulent public settings, obscuring one’s face can protect an individual from retaliation while evoking fear and uncertainty in others. Donning the mask of a cultural, political, or religious figure can lend that person power and further his or her legacy. Those who wear masks to protect their faces from environmental hazards may also end up sending a message of caution to outside observers. In many cases, though, masks play a more lighthearted role, allowing the wearer to take part in a festival and become someone (or something) else for a time. I’ve gathered here a few recent images of people wearing masks, covering their faces for a wide variety of reason From The Atlantic

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An Egyptian boy wearing a Guy Fawkes Mask holds bread, a symbol of poverty, during an anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstration in Cairo, Egypt, on March 22, 2013. Thousands of protesters from different areas of Cairo marched on Friday to express their rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morsi’s rule. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

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Protesters wearing masks perform during anti-austerity and anti-graft protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on January 11, 2013. More than 5,000 Slovenians gathered in the center of Ljubljana on Friday to protest against a corruption scandal that threatens to bring down the government. Slovenia’s anti-corruption commission said earlier this week that Prime Minister Janez Jansa had been unable to explain the source of some of his income in recent years. (Reuters/Srdjan Zivulovic)

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A man dressed in traditional Perchten mask performs during a Perchten festival in the western Austrian village of Heitwerwang, some 90 km (56 miles) west of Innsbruck, Austria, on November 23, 2012. Each year in November and January people dress-up in Perchten (also known in some regions as Krampus or Tuifl) costumes and parade through the streets to perform a 1,500 year-old pagan ritual to disperse the ghosts of winter. About 15 hours are needed for a woodcarver to sculpt each demon mask which is made from stone pine wood with goat horns attached. (Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler)

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An Afghan woman receives winter supplies at a UNHCR distribution center for needy refugees at the Women’s Garden in Kabul, Afghanistan, on January 2, 2013. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

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Protestors wear orange prison jumpsuits and black hoods on their heads during protests against holding detainees at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay during a demonstration on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 8, 2013. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

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A Bahraini boy takes part in a demonstration against the killing of a Shiite protester during clashes with Bahraini police, on February 22, 2013 in the village of Daih, West of the capital Manama. (Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images)

Utterly fascinating, go and see them all here

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