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