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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  • Adam Pretty / Getty

    Scenes From the 2017 World Aquatics Championships

    Hundreds of athletes from 186 nations are gathered in Budapest, Hungary to compete in 75 events across six disciplines in the 17th FINA World Championships.

  • Jorge Silva / Reuters

    A Walk in the Woods: A Photo Appreciation of Trees

    A collection of images of unusual, intriguing, and beautiful trees and forests around the world.

  • Stevo Vasiljevic / Reuters

    Wildfires Across Southern Europe

    Recent high temperatures and dry, windy conditions in Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, France, and Portugal have resulted in thousands of small wildfires and a few large large blazes.

  • Cate Gillon / Getty

    Swan Upping on the River Thames

    The annual Swan Upping began today in London, England—a five-day census counting swans and young cygnets belonging to the Queen.

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