“Naked Faces” Reveals How Someone’s Expression Changes When Becoming Undressed

At first glance, photographer Dylan Hamm has simply snapped two headshots of a single person. These portraits however, have a secret element to them: in one of the images, the subject is naked. This fact is the basis for Hamm's series Naked Faces, which was inspired by a question he’s mulled over for years. “In short,” he writes, “what level of nonverbal facial expressions do we show without being conscious of them?” Through over 40 sets of portraits, he sought to prove the notion that “people show more on their face than they are aware.”

Although we can’t see the subjects’ nude bodies, we do notice a shift in facial appearance from one photo to the other. These vary in their intensity—some people barely raise an eyebrow while others look more relaxed and even have a smirk on their face. “Though the approach and reaction to the act of getting naked varied from laughing, yelling and making jokes ­that reaction rarely linked to the results captured,” Hamm explained. The photographed micro expressions instead offer a fleeting glimpse into who these people really are, instead of their actions off-camera.

Naked Faces did not bring Hamm any closer to answering his original question—quite the opposite, actually. “Rather, it has become an investigation that is ongoing. It has raised questions about gender stereotypes, the subconscious, and the way we change imperceptibly to ourselves and perceptibly to others.”

Photographer Dylan Hamm takes portrait photos of people before and after they undress for a series entitled Naked Faces.

 Do you notice the difference in their facial expressions?

Dylan Hamm: Website | Facebook | Instagram
h/t: [Booooooom]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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