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Masks - Jeremy Hilder, 1984

16 March 2006

Not the big break or chance encounter, just one of those rare moments captured and still a favourite.

This picture was taken during my student years in the ’80’s of three lads at a ‘cheese and wine’ party, but it could be anywhere or anyone. I like the way the three identical masks appear to have taken on the very different emotional expressions, and frailty of the people behind them.

It is an interesting theme and relevant to conventional portraiture, that of the acquired or the assumed identity of the mask. Photographs where the sitter has attempted anonymity by concealing or reinventing themselves can sometimes be very revealing. Photographers are constantly presented with a PR veneer and I feel that it is the job, or skill of the photographer to strive to get a little more out of the subject, invariably in difficult circumstances, without betraying the trust of the sitter.

And the ’80’s style suede jackets and polyester suits! The picture now enjoys a certain timelessness, probably helped by the fact Leo Sayer and disco are back in fashion.

Jeremy Hilder was brought up on a farm in Africa until the age of 9 when his family hit ‘the big city’. He now takes sanctuary on hillside in South London. Jeremy specializes in portraiture and occasionally the odd ferret or two.

Photographer since 1993, EPUK member since 2003.

See more work by Jeremy Hilder

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