Split-Face Portraits Exploring What Drug Abuse Does to People

“Half” is a series of studio portraits by London-based photographer Roman Sakovich that explores the devastating effects of drug abuse. The project was created while Sakovich was studying photgoraphy at the Arts University College at Bournemouth in England.

Here’s what Sakovich tells us about what the project is about and how it was shot:

Photographed in the studio using make up, this series of images explores outsiders’ superficial judgement of the people before and after drug abuse. Instead of doing separate photographs, I have decided to combine both looks in to one shot — that way the change is more visible. The project mainly looks at heavy abuse of drugs such as meth, which has a high addiction level and dramatic impact on a person’s physical appearance.

These photographs are not a merge of two images into one. Instead I have used make up on one side of the face and kept other side normal. With regards to styling, I tried to do everything in-camera rather than in post-production.

You can find more of Sakovich’s work over on his website.

Half by Roman Sakovich (via Feature Shoot)

Image credits: Photographs by Roman Sakovich and used with permission

  • perento

    in the first i prefer the drug one

  • Ridge band

    Woah. Very nice.

  • momo

    So… people eith urban outfit = meth addict.

  • kirsty

    You often see these ‘split’ people images, but this is really refreshing to see someone doing it in one single shot, crafting it into a convincing appearance and doing it so the illusion works really well. The pictures are successful and powerful. Also well done to the make-up artist its a superb job. Great stuff

  • Brian

    I’m confused. He says he used makeup. So are these just models who have had half their faces made to look similar to what a drug addict looks like or are these drug addicts who have had half their faces made to look normal?

    If it’s the former then this is a bit misleading because it’s only an interpretation of what drug abuse does (not actual drug abuse). If it’s the latter than I’m very impressed.

  • B.nato

    Which side has the makeup? The only way to do this properly is if you have actual drug addicts pose. Otherwise, youre just stereotyping the image of a drug user.

  • Missjulepina

    Well… U can be doc, and an adict… A business guy, and adict… Supermodel, and adict… Be the guy with all the things in this world and all the reasons for be happy… and an adict.

  • 9inchnail

    Exactly my thought. But kinda hard to realize, isn’t it? You would have to find a usable photo of a drug user before he started using and then shoot a new portrait in a similar pose and create a composite. Hard but possible…

    Or you ask a friend of yours if he would be willing to become addicted to drugs for your project and take before-photos. I mean, if he says no, he’s not a friend to begin with, right?

  • 9inchnail

    Yes, no exceptions.

  • Matt

    Yep, my thoughts exactly. While the skill in makeup and styling are great, the message is completely lost. Becaue the message becomes “this is how I view drug abusers”, and not anything more.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    I believe in Harvey Dent.

  • ThePope2012

    real images would be something.. that´s just another fake blah…

  • ThePope2012


  • ThePope2012

    yep he should hire lohan and charlie sheen

  • Zak Henry

    Or have a drug addict and have a professional make up artist do one side of the face to look healthy

  • val escobar

    One photographers interpretation folks, love it or hate it.. like any photographic / art project.
    Creative for sure.

  • guest

    I think this just needs a new title.

    generalizing to all “drug users” is a mistake, but certain substances (i.e. meth) have very specific, predictable side effects associated with prolonged abuse.

  • ga1n

    Agree..The faces of meth is so hardhitting and real ..

    in light of the real stuff, this conceptual series just pales in comparison.

  • Mick O

    Makeup… is a hell of a drug.

  • barny mgooch

    Someone needs to give that photographer a slap

  • Jaruth

    “Photographed in the studio using make up, this series of images explores outsiders’ superficial judgement of the people before and after drug abuse.” — read before bashing?

  • an

    Yeah I agree, on the second pictire I thought, so…If I use drug Ill get a big
    hole for an earing?

  • Julio

    My uni! :)
    Nice work

  • The Undertaker

    Just say No.