The first relationship we have with people is face recognition. Strangers are quickly accepted as a friend or suspected as a foe – all apparent in the face and its expressions. Since primitive times mankind has developed ability to communicate positivity with eye contact and a smile. It’s all a part of human social survival especially when language is not understood.
Communication with language has progressed between tribes. But faces still tell the first story. And there can be social characterization between different cultures. To put on a mask and be another personality is uplifting – spiritual.
“In many cultures masks are worn in structured dances to symbolize social status, to protect, to exalt, to mock, and to amuse. They transport the wearer through characterization into a world which is otherwise out of reach.”
Paraphrased from Dr. Marion Oettinger
Dancing Faces: Mexican Masks in a Cultural Context
I recently visited the Mask Museum of San Miguel De Allende in Mexico. Bill LeVasseur, is the owner/curator and author of the book ‘Another Face of Mexico’. Bill is a nice guy – passionate about his collection and he has an extensive knowledge of masks and masked dancing. I feel bad that I broke the rules and took some pictures in restricted areas. [After all, where photography is concerned, I am the polite trespasser.]
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“I see the shot as a beginning, as an image I can get ‘painterly’ with – giving it visual richness, abstracting it, or making it more conceptual.
As darkroom technique has always been an essential part of the photographer’s mastery of imagery – Photoshop is my darkroom. This process of post-production enhancement completes my relationship with the image.”