Check out my editorial for Superhero Mag
Here is an extended version of my words and images titled Beauty Masks
Denelle Kennedy is a 26-year-old Canadian based in London, UK.
I have recently read the novel Green Girl by Kate Zambreno and really connected with the protagonist Ruth. It is a novel about a culture where "women wear their faces as masks, and their bodies as shields."
Her performance of her femininity seems to stand in place of her identity:
"Sometimes she is struck by the sense that she is someone else's character, that she is saying someone else's lines."
I wanted to take this idea of "face as mask" and further explore one of my latest photo series titled Beauty Masks. This title strikes me as somewhat of an oxymoron because we do not look beautiful in the mask, the beauty is promised only after the mask is removed. Our faces are one of the ways we are identified by others, yet many of us don't identify with our own natural, naked face.
We promote a very different version of that face online with every display picture and user profile, or out in the world with makeup and extensions. We begin to fool ourselves, associating the way we wear eyeliner with our own face and identity. This image is where we feel we look our best: idealised hair, teeth, clothes, and skin. Women undertake vast, sometimes costly and invasive, measures to obtain their ideal self.
Here's the psychology behind Beauty Masks: with cucumbers over your eyes, you paint yourself beyond recognition, clay smeared into every crevice; you imagine another girl, the more beautiful one. Then you peel and scrub it all away hoping to reveal the face that resembles the better (different and more beautiful) one that you daydream for.
All Photographs are Self Portraits by Denelle Kennedy 2015
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