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

  • Nati Harnik / AP

    In Photos: Deadly Floods Sweep the Midwest

    Snowmelt and last week’s “bomb cyclone” have overwhelmed rivers in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and neighboring states, causing widespread flooding that has broken dozens of records and cost at least three lives.

  • Leah Millis / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Hudson Yards, Birdman Rally, Cat Yoga

    A rabbit in war-torn Syria, water shortages in Venezuela, cherry blossoms in China, terror in New Zealand, voting in North Korea, a global youth protest against climate-change inaction, and much more

  • Andrew Burton / Getty

    Sound Bites: Dogs on the Microphone

    A collection of news photos of pups being interviewed

  • Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

    Ongoing Blackouts Hit Already Struggling Venezuelans

    Amid an existing political and economic crisis, days without electricity are making life even harder for Venezuelans.