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

  • Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP / Getty

    Wildfires Force Evacuations Along the French Riviera

    Authorities have evacuated more than 10,000 people from parts of southern France, ahead of several raging wildfires.

  • Pete Oxford / bioGraphic

    Whale Sharks as Good Luck Charms

    Fishermen in Cenderawasih Bay in West Papua, Indonesia, have long believed that whale sharks bring good luck.

  • Franck Fife / AFP / Getty

    Scenes From the 2017 Silk Way Rally

    For the past two weeks, rally racers from 35 countries drove 5,965 miles (9,600 kilometers) from Moscow, Russia, to Xi'an, China.

  • Oli Scarff / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 7/15–7/21

    Highland games in Scotland, a diving jaguar in France, wildfires in California and western Canada, a wax Donald Trump, and much more.

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