collection 07

Alter Egos

Changing Identities in Snapshot Photography


Masks can be powerful things. Depending on the moment—someone in a mask can call on your worst fears. But for some reason, photographs of people in masks rarely evoke joy—being a step removed from the moment just adds to the uncertainty of the situation.

Included here is a small selection of vernacular photographs of people in masks, actual and implied, from the Accidental Mysteries collection.

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He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing of its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.
— William Golding, Lord of the Flies, 1954
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