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

  • Patrick Fallon / Reuters

    Photos of a Women's March Weekend

    Images of this weekend’s second annual Women's Marches in Washington, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and from cities in England, Sweden, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, and more.

  • Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Transport Mishaps, Epiphany Blessings, Bull Taming

    The pope’s visit to South America, big surf in Portugal, bull wrestling in India, a false alarm in Hawaii, a massive oil spill in the East China Sea, and much more.

  • Franck Fife / AFP / Getty

    Photos From the 2018 Dakar Rally

    Leaving Lima, Peru, on January 6, 335 competitors started the 40th annual Dakar Rally, which arrives in Córdoba, Argentina, on January 20.

  • Carl Court / Getty, Francisco Seco / AP

    A Pair of Fiery Festivals

    In the past couple of days, festivals were held in two villages separated by language, culture, religion, and great distance, but both centered on the use of fire as a method of purification and blessing.

Join the Discussion