The 21st century has brought two opposite trends in image culture: a “selfie” and a trend to hide, alter or mask the face. The “selfie” has a reputation of being annoying, vain, and even addictive; the obscured face is either disturbing, or fascinating and entertaining for a viewer. Depends on the circumstances.
Literally faceless creatures (like Slender Man) can be found in Mythology of many nations around the world. A mujina is a creature with no face that can shape-shift into human form. Japanese immigrants brought this folklore to Hawaii. In 1959, a woman was reported to have seen a mujina comb her hair in the women’s restroom at a drive-in theater in Kahala, and when the witness came close enough, the mujina turned, revealing her featureless face.
That must have been scary.
There is also an assortment of the hooded and cloaked beings – Faeries, Grim reapers and others. None of them is after any good.
Whomever we meet we do want to see their face. Not because we have a phobia or something. We simply want to communicate, work, have fun and just be with someone we can relate to. And we all know that faces tell more than words.
What the obscured face means for it’s owner? Erased identity, insecurity, or inviolable privacy? All of above? What if it is not their choice?
The Doors, “I can’t see your face in my mind”.
Album Strange Days
Barbra Streisand with Andrea Bocelli “I Still Can See Your Face”
Photography tip of the day: Scan your old photographs to preserve them. Visit the same places and the same people. Reenact your old images.