Subtracting the human face

April 2017 issue

Subtracting the human face

Nobody and anybody

So many photographers make the human visage central to their work that it’s striking to see a series that’s almost entirely face-less. Such is “Alterego” by New York-based photographer Ben Zank, whose subjects rarely reveal their faces, and when they do, they don’t make eye contact.

“I used to shoot people’s faces often,” says Zank, “and I would say that when you shoot somebody’s face, you’re shooting their likeness, their personality, and that’s not really what I’m trying to capture.” Zank is after something more abstract: conveying information about the human condition. Concepts for his works are often inspired by a location—the way the light hits certain materials, the mood of the scene.

“It’s pretty common to see beautiful faces in photographs, but I’m not trying to sell that,” he says. “I’m interested in portraying the human form as something architectural and surreal.”

Amanda Arnold is the associate editor of Professional Photographer.

Tags: fine artportraits

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