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Fetish of the Image

Agata Wieczorek

“Patriarchal, masculine, powerful” – these adjectives might not be the first ones to come to mind when seeing the photographs. Yet, this is precisely what they illustrate.

The portrayed people are wealthy, prominent and affluent, mostly straight and white, men in power, such as directors or managers of big companies.

The images come from the most intimate moments of transition that happens in strict privacy and secrecy among the hermetic, yet popular worldwide Masking fetish subculture. Although their queer desires are socially tabooed, they are accepted as a source of revenue. Silicone skins are costly commodities that only few can afford.

As a young, middle-class woman, not much connects me with the characters of my work.

Fundamentally, my experience of femininity comes from living as a woman while for Maskers, it derives from performing femininity. The only connection with my models was photography. While posing, the men permitted me to look deeper underneath the silicone costumes.

Masking may look claustrophobic or even cannibalistic. But for the men, a Mask is a symbol of emancipation. It seems that Maskers disguise to escape their masculine identity and experience being powerless. Yet, they desire to create and become a living, independent female subject. To fulfill this need, they commodify and consume female identity. Self-expression, self-centeredness and consumption are characteristic for our times.

Masking well illustrates how they blur the borders between body and fetish, desire and narcissism, emancipation and submission.

Project comes from the series: ‘Fetish of the Image’ by Agata Wieczorek

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