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<strong>1st Place:</strong>Alter Ego (Christine P Newman)

1st Place:Alter Ego (Christine P Newman)

Author Comment:

This is a self-portrait titled Alter Ego. After thinking of my original intentions when taking this photo and re-examining it with the contest in mind, I have come up with many ways that I feel this image well represents the nature of incongruity and human values:

* People who look at it can interpret its implied expression in various and, at times, contradictory ways.

* There is, in this picture, something wild, vibrant, amusing, intense, alluring, intricate, mysterious, gorgeous, sensual and intimate. There is fire, there is pride, there is passion and there is an attitude. The woman behind the mask has established eye contact in a way that some would interpret as ‘Back off, I’m dangerous’.

* One does not know how to react to the non-smiling face. One can be drawn to the cool blue eyes in the fiery red mask and notice the strong contrast between the black/red mask and the white skin which are connected by red lips. There is even more tension or disconcerting effect created by the left eye which seems to look at you.

* Some people see a mystical or mythical figure, others a seductive and whimsical vixen.

* Children are either curious and fascinated or scared of masks. They feel like removing the mask to see who or what is behind it.

* Some people may find the textures (feathers, skin) intriguing.

* This mask is at the same time human and inhumane, diabolical and animal. There is something animal in this picture, either avian (bird of prey) because of the feathers or feline because of the haunting and mesmerizing pale piercing eyes with dilated pupils. Or maybe the top two black feathers remind us of horns, giving it a devilish look. She has something of a night creature, healthy and vibrant.

* This picture was first published a few days before mardi gras in 2005 and some people saw in it the mask of carnival, masquerade and celebration.

* Many cultures use the mask for different purposes – the Aborigenes to communicate with the spirits or to scare their enemies, for example. Masks are often part of ceremonies.

* The whiteness of the skin can also remind us of the skin of the Japanese geishas.

* Some shy people feel freer when they hide behind a mask, letting go of their inhibitions and becoming more creative. Others who do not like their regular appearance enjoy these moments when they are not judged on their looks. On the other hand, some people see the mask as deceit and pretence. Occasionally people use the anonymity of carnivals to injure or kill other people

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ron cohen 20-Aug-2006 23:52
james200214-Oct-2005 12:51
Congratulations Christine on your well deserved 1st place. I'm sure it won't be the last time I say that. Your talent far exceeds your age and it serves you well.
Phil Douglis25-Sep-2005 23:45
First Place: Pbase Challenge #1.

Christine Newman's "Alter Ego" is a shocking photograph. When looking at the thumbnail images of all of the entries in Pbase Challenge #1, this picture leaps out at us and compels us to not only look at it but think about what we are looking at. Christine has created a self-portrait that is compelling, disturbing, and thoughtful. It challenges our imaginations and stirs our emotions. She has brilliantly analyzed her own image in the comprehensive commentary she provides along with it. There is no need for me to repeat what she has said -- she has accomplished all she has set out to do in terms of making an image that expresses an idea through abstraction, incongruity and human values.

In creating this self-portrait, Christine abstracts herself with a fiery mask of feathers, daring us to divine the nature of the person within. The resulting image is hypnotic, haunting, and emotionally challenging. I first saw this image when I was invited to comment on the work of members of a Canadian high school camera club who maintain a gallery on pbase. I thought then, and think now, that the eyes are the key to this image. The eyes speak as loudly as the vibrant color --fierce, proud, piercing -- human organs incongruously juxtaposed against an inhumanly feathered face.

Masks are symbols of deceit, pretense, of being something we are not. Christine uses this mask to express her character by hiding it. She employs color to intensify the image's emotional content, and her intimate vantage point forces our imaginations to deal with the animal that lies within her, and within all of us. With this image, fourteen year old Christine Newman produces the winner of Pbase Challenge #1.