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Masks in our lives and our photography

by Editor Colin Dixon 
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 22nd of February 2023


Masks as a metaphor, mask as defence, Mask, Masque, Masquerade.


'Dark Passion' by Petko Petkov


Masks or blindfolds have been a staple of portrait photography since the start of the medium, offering photographers an interesting way to add character and create unique looks for their subject. In this article, we'll explore the history of masks and the use of masks in portrait and art nude photography


Masks have been with us for aeons and have spawned many contradictions. They have been worn for display or for disguise. They have been worn to woo or to wage war. They have been worn to hide or to identify. They have been used to protect or to punish.


Masks have been found as old as 9000 years old, The Neolithic masks of Judea, and probably used well before that. They were also used through the Greek and Roman Empires as ornamentation, in war, in fashion, seduction and anonymity .


They were heavily used in the Renaissance to hide the identity and to entertain, especially in Venice at the Carnival which has been around as a form of entertainment from the 1600’s until the present day. Many photographers now visit the Venice Carnival to help them create art.


Cultural Masks

Masking faces is still a huge part of modern life in cultures and Religions around the world.


'Face off' by Mikhail Potapov



'Veil' by Morteza Salehi



'Angeline..!!!' by Alfredo Sanchez


n/t by Joxe Inazio Kuesta Garmendia



'Teyyam Ceremony Performer – Kannur – India' by Joxe Inazio Kuesta Garmendia



'Girl Suri' by Svetlin Yosifov


Other types of masks












Of course we have all had good reason to wear masks over the last few years for medical reasons and even though masks have been around for as long as man it was still very controversial to some people around the world but it was a great opportunity for photographers and is now a snapshot of time. 


'The World in Fear' by Peter Davidson



'Mask' by Tori Zhu



'Pandemic' by Aylin Erozcan


Masks used for Anonymity.

A mask conceals something from view. It can be worn to cover all or part of the face: to disguise, hide, protect, amuse or frighten others. It may also be something we metaphorically wear to present ourselves to the world but use to hide what we really think or feel.



The metaphor of wearing masks is not new, as we have seen and we wear them to protect our vulnerable inner true selves. We also need to fit in with society and so wear masks that project social conformance.

Masks can be used to lie, hiding our true selves, with the purpose of protection and acceptance but also to deceive.  In fact some people today use the internet as a mask to conceal their real inner selves and conceal their identity,just as they did in the 1600’s in Venice.


'Masks of the past meet the mask of the present' by Colin Dixon



Portrait photography is used to capture the beauty and mystery of a person's face, but using a blindfold or mask can create even more mystery. The same goes for art nude photography by helping with anonymity of the subject.

Masks are used by photographers in many ways and nearly always help to create a depth to an image that is not there when we can see the face or the eyes. The mystery of the person behind the mask is timeless throughout our history and into the future.


Many of our 1x photographers have used this to great effect.


'check' by Ambra



'a r t' by Ruth Franke



'Mystery' by Jacco Zwarst



'The papillon' by Peppe Tambè



'Photographer II' by Robert Strahinjic



'Throne' by Aurimas Valevicius



'Free Spirit' by Catchlight Studio



'Anonymous Beauty' by Thomas Fisher



'The Man and the Rose' by Petri Damstén



'Golden Lights at Venice Nights' by Barak Shacked



'Chicken song' by kenp


Congrats! You totally deserve it.
Wonderfully interesting article Colin, fabulous idea and the images are all stunning. Well done!
Amazing works!!
Amazing collection of beautiful Works of Art so well done and put together... Well done all concerned..
Thank you Daniel from me and the great photographers.
A very strong theme and well written article, Colin. And what a great choice of photography to illustrate it! Thank you!
The photography on 1x is amazing.
An exceptional article, cleverly structured with a great collection of images ! I've read it with pleasure. Mr. Dixon, I'm looking forward to the next one.
Thank you Nicoleta
Beautiful inspiration, Good light it captures!
Inspiration a word I love :)
Great article and collection of wonderful images! Learning.
Thank you learning we all do every day on here :)
Thank you very much for the article and a beautiful collection of creative work!
Glad you enjoyed it
Thank you so much for this beautiful article and full of amazing images. Congratulations to all authors.
Thank you Peppe is is the stunning images that make it work.
Impressive collection, great work, congrats!
Thank you to all the photographers for there beautiful images
Great collection!
We are so lucky to have all these amazing photographers on 1x
A very very interesting write up with beautiful images to compliment. Thank you for sharing your perspective Colin.
Thank you Anita :)
Nice work, congrats.
Wonderful work. Congratulations!
Glad you enjoyed it Shaibal.
Cool article from beneath the mask Colin!
Thanks Peter yes hiding behind my mask :)
Amazing article and gallery. Very inspiring . Thanks Colin and Yvette
Thank you Federico glad you enjoyed it and the amazing work of our fellow 1x photographers. :)
All credits go to Colin and to the authors, of course!