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 reasons.

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  • Carmen Jaspersen / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 7/25-7/31

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  • Damir Sagolj / Reuters

    The Abandoned Fishing Village of Houtouwan

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  • Niranjan Shrestha / AP

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  • Abhishek N. Chinnappa / Reuters

    The Flying Machines of Flugtag

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