It’s hard to believe you can capture a person’s vulnerability when they’re hidden behind a horsehead mask, but that is exactly what Melbourne-based photographer Kate Hanley has managed to achieve in her stunning series What Are You Looking At?
Realising early on in her career that masks could be an invaluable tool for helping nervous models loosen up in front of the lens, Hanley set about amassing an assortment of disguises that could let her subjects reinvent themselves when the camera was upon them. There’s something very freeing about hiding behind a mask. Even the shyest soul finds themself in possession of a whole new personality when their identity is hidden from view. It didn’t take long to see the huge difference it made to how people relaxed once their inhibitions had melted away.
Now what began as simple warm-up exercises at the start of a shoot have become whimsical portraits in their own right, beautifully capturing the vulnerability of those first intimidating moments. What Are You Looking At? speaks to the insecurities in all of us – to the absurd and unnatural situations we often find ourselves in, to the different ways we hide our uncertainties in public, and to the way in which standing out in the crowd can often be the best hiding place of all.
Check out more of Kate Hanley’s stunning photography on her facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/katehanleyphotography?fref=ts or at http://www.behance.net/khanleyphotography