Project

Naked Renaissance: Photographer Hides the Faces of Models under the Masks of Fair Ladies

To hide the identity of naked models in her photographs, photographer Masha Svyatogor covered their faces with masks of fair ladies from famous paintings.

Masha Svyatogor Age 27

Belarusian photographer. Was born and lives in Minsk. Studied Philology at the Belarusian National University. Her medium is photography and digital collage.

— The beautiful masks of fair ladies from the distant past are hiding the faces of modern young women. This choice of form was not accidental. The thing is that in the short period of time I became a ‘victim’ of my friends who modeled for me several times. Some young women who posed naked for me by mutual consent and free will told me several years after the shoot that the fact that such photographs exist is unacceptable for them. They demanded that I surrender all negatives directly to them, delete the images from the Internet and delete the copies from data storage devices.

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When I mentioned my right to manage my archive, I got a reply that there can be no ‘copyright’ for me here. Later I found out that one of the ‘victims’ of my photographic experiments simply destroyed all the negatives that I gave her upon her request, to ensure she receives no threats and does not become the target of psychological manipulations.

The border between a personal and a professional relationship was blurred, the trust was irretrievably lost, and there was total lack of safety on both sides. The model infringes on the territory of the author and devalues the artwork. I am still not safeguarded from incidents such as this one, I am not safeguarded against it happening again.

When I mentioned my right to manage my archive, I got a reply that there can be no ‘copyright’ for me here.
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To protect my photographs in a sense, I decided to mask the real appearance of young women, borrowing the faces of artist inspiration of the past centuries, taken from reproductions of the works of famous painters. I used mostly a classical body of work using female images that have certain functions and forms of representation attached to them in the artistic tradition.

It is important that the modern context provides the opportunity for an alternative reading of the already familiar images, their rethinking and reinterpretation.

The modern context provides the opportunity for an alternative reading of the already familiar images, their rethinking and reinterpretation.
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