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.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Damir Sagolj / Reuters

    North Korea Marks 70 Years of Workers’ Party Rule

    Over the weekend, reclusive North Korea held a massive military parade and numerous other mass performances to commemorate the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party, inviting foreign media to cover the event in Pyongyang.

  • Stefano Cerio

    The Empty Chinese Amusement Park

    What happens when the crowds go home?

  • Jonathan Alpeyrie

    The Last Jews of Cuba

    “To be Cuban and Jewish is to be twice survivors.”

  • Kerstin Joensson / AP

    Photos of the Week: 10/3-10/9

    A sandstorm in Egypt, flooding in South Carolina, the release of a black-footed ferret, an Israeli spacecraft, hazy skies in Indonesia, a volcanic eruption near Quito, a massive traffic jam near Beijing, and much more.

Join the Discussion