Masks and Dignity

Never before have I experienced this feeling of fear as close, omnipresent and everyday as in this year 2020!„- Kurt Moser

Kurt Moser

Kurt Moser is a photographer. He has worked for many years as a cameraman in crisis areas. Until he had enough of violence and war, of the digital noise of the fast pictures. Since then, he has been photographing the mountains of the Dolomites on meter-sized glass plates using an ancient photographic technique, the ambrotype. The mountains as massive and everlasting as his photos on glass. And more recently he has been photographing masks that are currently on display in the world’s major art galleries and museums. He has sent us 3 of his wonderful works, along with the following words:

Never before have I felt this feeling of fear so close, omnipresent and everyday as in this year 2020! During my assignments as a cameraman in war zones there were of course many critical situations in which I felt fear. But that was different. There was an enemy, he was visible, audible, tangible…real. What we experience here and today is fundamentally different. The enemy is imperceptible and yet incredibly powerful. That makes for a whole new kind of fear, which everyone deals with differently.

As an artist, I naturally deal with this. However, I refuse to let this be visually incorporated into my work. I don’t want to make any forced associations with viruses or death, I don’t want to create additional fear.

Foto: Kurt Moser 2020

But then I discovered my interest in African masks. They do not create a feeling of fear in me, but rather curiosity and admiration. We understand masks in our cultural context as a means to hide something, to subject someone, to pretend, to dominate and intimidate people. We know masks in the military, in the police or from bank break-ins. Here the mask serves as a demonstration of power, to depersonalise and to create fear. And when we speak of Covid masks: they also frighten many people and polarise them.

These African masks, however, served ritual purposes, the connection and exchange with the divine, the supernatural. The aim of the mask rituals was not polarisation but union and community.

Luena, Foto Kurt Moser 2020

This contrast inspired me to photograph a series on masks. I was not interested in documenting the original masks, but rather in interpreting them, to bring out and emphasize the power and dignity that I recognize in them.

DanII Foto Kurt Moser 2020

You want to know more about Kurt Moser? Here you find his story

Homepage Kurt Moser:


London 28. Nov. bis 03. Dez. 2020: cryptgallery. org

Innsbruck 16. bis 19 jan 2021 in:

Bruneck / Italien bis April 2021 in:


Veröffentlicht von Gitti Müller

Gitti Müller ist Buchautorin und Filmemacherin aus Köln. Für ihre Reportagen erhielt sie zahlreiche Auszeichnungen. Sie selbst bezeichnet sich als Globetrotterin und Storytellerin aus Leidenschaft.üller

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