UNMASKED

un·mask: (v) expose the true character of or hidden truth about

This project is a photographic exploration of the psychological spaces that many of us sometimes inhabit, from calm to unsettled, due to the increasingly complicated world we must grapple with.

In modern society, we have access to greater information and more options to choose from than in past eras. While there are advantages to this, it forces each of us to digest more complex ideas and interact with more complicated systems and networks. This complexity is likely to grow exponentially in the near future, catalyzed by technology and information. While some people are adept at dealing with this change, ever greater numbers are struggling. We can see the partial impact of this with greater incidences of mental anguish and the increased need for daily pharmaceutical support to cope. 

The subjects in the photographs are contacted via social media or through acquaintances, and invited to collaborate on the project. The resulting images are created by working blind in a completely dark studio. Light is poured by hand, as if using a paint brush, to illuminate and paint them. This process enables chance to play a role in the collusion of darkness and light to unmask internal states onto the subjects’ likenesses, while simultaneously frustrating our confidence in reading the deconstructed portrait as a traditional image of the sitter.

The image titles are created using artificial intelligence to reflect the increasing complexity of our world. The AI algorithm looks at the final image, and develops a prose poem to share its impression of the photograph.