Faceless Faces in Public Places
My series of photographs in Faceless Faces in Public Places documents people interacting with their daily environments in the angst of the Covid era. At the same time, it captures the affection they display for their communities and the vital nature of place even during a pandemic. It has been compelling to photograph in public spaces that are familiar to me, places where masks for so many months have been a disquieting visual cue that something is amiss in our everyday world.
The images in Faceless Faces in Public Places (made while taking appropriate safety measures), are primarily street photography from local neighborhoods within the Washington, D.C. urban core. As a photographer, I was initially drawn to the visually jarring fact of people wearing masks not in a hospital or health clinic, but simply walking down Main Street going about their lives. It was disturbing to see the many people in public areas who chose not to wear masks when in proximity to others. For this series, I chose to photograph only those who were wearing masks.
In hindsight, my focus on those wearing masks feels as if I have perhaps portrayed an idealized notion of the world—where every person has taken responsibility for their role in the pandemic and has made the choice to live a new kind of life, displaying hope and concern, against the backdrop of familiar places that are somehow not at all the same. Even in the pandemic, people and place still interact.
Learn more about the Faceless Faces in Public Spaces book here.
Copyright © 2020 Sam Kittner
With his roots in photojournalism and documentary photography, Sam Kittner has been based in the Washington, D.C. area for over thirty years. Building on extensive experience photographing for major media publications, corporate communications, and public institutions, Kittner has become known in the architecture, design, and urban development community as one of its leading visual storytellers.
In addition to photographing people, Kittner has created multi-exposure panoramas of cityscapes that have garnered widespread recognition. His primary work for the past decade has been documenting urban development and the placemaking attributes of evolving neighborhoods, along with architectural photography of education and public-gathering facilities. Kittner’s images convey powerful narratives of the human experience within the built environment. His images are included in the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and numerous private collections.
View Kittner’s portfolio on his website.
I am an avid dog lover, so the Dupont Circle photograph spoke to me. Unconditional love, incredible sense of smell, our best friend. Either that or the subject still had some mustard on his lips from lunch. Dogs are perfect for connecting, regardless. Good stuff here, Sam.
Ellen, thanks for the kind words about my work…I am just seeing your comment now while revisiting this blog post about 14 months later!.
You may be interested to know I published a book of the series of photographs…you can find out more at: https://bit.ly/FFPP_2021.