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