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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Most Recent

  • Christopher Furlong / Getty

    France Dismantles 'The Jungle' in Calais

    A small camp in Calais, France, housing nearly 8,000 migrants hoping to cross into England, is being evacuated and torn down in what French authorities are calling a “humanitarian” operation.

  • David Goldman / AP

    Photos of a Divided America

    For much of the past year, Associated Press photographers have been gathering images of the people and places at the heart of multiple issues dividing Americans this election year.

  • Benjamin Grant / Daily Overview / Amphoto Books / DigitalGlobe

    The Awesomeness of Earth from Above

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  • Wong Maye-E / AP

    Photos of the Week: 10/15–10/21

    Diwali lights in England, a pair of scary clown masks in Nicaragua, a rat stuck in a New York garbage can, a bioluminescent jellyfish in the Marianas Trench, a little Hitler, and much more.

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