Humorous Portraits of People with Faces Pressed Against Glass

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The Ugly Truth” is a bizarre series of portraits by photographer Rut Mackel. Each photo features a not-very-pleasing photo of a face that looks flatted and disfigured. No, the subjects don’t actually look like that, and no, Mackel didn’t use any kind of digital manipulation for the photos. She simply asked her subjects to hold a pane of glass and then press their faces against it.

Here’s what Mackel says about the series:

This project explores the ugliness and the beauty that exists within each of us. By drastically transforming faces from aesthetically attractive to unpleasant appearance I aim to challenge our perception of aesthetic appearance. ”Face is a symbol of personal identity. It’s the mirror, or the mask of the self. The mirror either ‘reflects’ or ‘distorts’. Our faces are us. Thus, facial disfigurement can be particularly distressing.”

How does our perception change when suddenly the aesthetic appearance of the face is changed? What emotional responses does it trigger? Do we perceive the person differently? How does this person’s perception oh himself changes when his face has been temporarily disfigured? How would he deal with being visibly different?

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You can find more photos from this series over Mackel’s website. If you like the idea of portraits of distorted faces, check out photographer Tadao Cern’s project involving faces being blasted by a leaf blower.

Image credits: Photographs by Rut Mackel and used with permission

  • Richard

    Incredible work. I love it.

  • Jake

    So he wanted to shoot the same goofy looking pictures that we’ve all been doing ever since we were kids, but realized that he needed a pretentious artist statement about the concept to vindicate it. Nicely executed!

  • Mansgame

    lighting and dealing with reflections must have been a challenge

  • Leonardo Abreu


  • Liam

    Soft, diffused lighting and a polarizing filter would do the trick just fine

  • David

    Must be a fan of Anton Corbijn, since this was done in Depeche Mode’s music video for Walking in My Shoes back in ’93.

  • -

    Seems like the last girl forgot to clean the glass.