I started collecting Carnival masks about six years ago from markets and vintage stores. They are made from hand painted paper maché and are up to 90 years old.

These masks were traditionally worn once a year during Carnival to reverse roles and cross boundaries. Legend has it that during the masked celebrations certain murderous deeds were committed in disguise, as identity was hidden.

I made these images for fun. Indeed, we all laughed a lot during these impromptu shoots.

Guests would come over, or someone would drop by, and I would ask them to choose a mask from my vintage collection, then get them to stand in front of my old 60's school blackboard.

Using my iPhone — in keeping with the spontaneity and immediacy of the concept — the shoot would be over and done within a few minutes, somewhere between drinks and dinner, or after dessert. My masks are full of imperfections just like a human face, so they seem to fuse with the person wearing them. The fixed and frozen expression poised on a human form is at once disturbing and fascinating. The body language suddenly takes on more importance with the face hidden, and every angle seems to reveal a different aspect of the mask. The two elements become one.

— Vee Speers