Overlapping Faces Around the World

30 Geikos and Maikos dancing the special Kyo dance in Kyoto, Japan

How many faces do you see? What if I told you there are 30 people in the photo above? In 1999, Japanese artist Ken Kitano started an ongoing project called Our Face. It involves taking photographic portraits of people on 35 mm film and evenly printing their faces atop one another.

Kitano generally groups the faces according to location, profession, and gender. In his portraits, he does not separate out those with different statuses or ranking. Whether you are the boss or the employee, you are grouped together. His intention is not to divide people or cultures, but rather to link them horizontally as if they were part of a continuous chain.

As of 2008, Kitano has branched out to other parts in Asia outside of his native land of Japan. The Our Face project continues to grow with the hopes of soon reaching North and South America, Eurasia, and Africa. What a fascinating global project!

38 singers of Kouta (Popular Traditional Songs in the Edo Period) in Tokyo, Japan

30 unmarried girls carrying Nanahokaishinji (a seven dish offering to God) at the Aizu Tajima

35 Esoteric Buddhist Monks of the Shingon sect studying at KOHYA Mountain Special School in Wakayama, Japan

78 fishermen of the Kamogawa Fishermens Association in Chiba, Japan

60 people at the Kishiwada Danjiri Festival in Osaka, Japan

40 supporters of England's soccer team at FIFA World Cup 2002 in Osaka, Japan

42 member of baseball club at OHMI High School in Shiga, Japan

60 female students of Tarami Kinkai Junior High School in Nagasaki, Japan

63 children at Child Center of Higashikawa in Hokkaido, Japan

32 students of Nairia Junior High School in Bangladesh

32 men in a farming village in Bangladesh

40 workers loading cargo at Shador Ghat Ferry Terminal in Dhaka, Bangladesh

34 people attending mosque service in Dhaka, Bangladesh

23 Mulsim women in burqas in Nairia, Bangladesh

Ken Kitano's website


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at major TV, film, and publishing companies as well as other independent media businesses. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies, reading, crafting, drawing, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
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