Have you seen photos on social media that feature people artfully posed wearing animal masks? These photos are usually heavily filtered and presented as art rather than traditional photographs. They are everywhere on sites like Facebook and Instagram and the trend is not showing any sign of slowing down. These photos can be funny, disturbing, creepy or intriguing but they are rarely boring. People who love to take photos are exploring trends like this as a way to present their work and get their photographs noticed. Social media is so choked with photographs every day that it’s easy for photos to get lost in the endless parade of selfies and photos of meals. Animal mask photos stand out and make people stop and look, and they’ve been around for longer than you might realize.
As far as anyone can tell the trend of taking artful photos while wearing animal head masks started becoming popular in 2012. Back then couples started taking surreal engagement photos of themselves wearing animal masks. Horsehead masks, bear masks, and wolf masks are all very popular. The trend continued into wedding photography and both the wedded couple and guests would take photos wearing animal masks. Some musical artists started putting animal head masks on people in their music videos around this time as well.
The trend quietly grew across social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter and spread from hipsters to quirky artists and everyday people. Photographers started embracing the trend as a way to set their photos apart and create a new style of surrealist art. Norman Reedus, one of the most popular actors on The Walking Dead and an accomplished photographer, published a book of photography that featured a lot of surrealist photos with models wearing animal masks. He also regularly posts photos of himself and his friends wearing masks to Instagram and Twitter.
The trend has even now been embraced by parents on Instagram who have taken to posting photos of their kids with animal masks on. The masks on kids are creepy, which adds a lot of dimension to the photos. There’s no denying that photos of kids doing everyday things like reading, playing in the park, or sleeping with animal masks on is a little disturbing. But many parents say that it’s also practical because it protects their children’s face and identities. In an age where parents have to balance their desire to share on social media with the need to protect their children’s images the use of animal masks is a clever way to do both. The masks become part of the overall artistic integrity of the image and still protect the child.
The animal masks range from totally realistic masks of horses, wolves, rabbits and other animals to highly stylized and elaborate masks of creatures like unicorns and characters like Grumpy Cat. Lion masks are very popular, as are horse masks, pig masks, rabbit masks and wolf masks. Some have hand pieces that look like hooved legs that match the mask. If you haven’t tried this trend yet you should try it. Pick up a few animal masks and get your friends together to do an animal head photo shoot. Let your imagination run wild and set up photo tableaus in your home, your yard, and other familiar areas. The great thing about this trend is that you can use any location and any props to create your own artistic photos to share on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Using every day props and locations makes the juxtaposition of the animal imagery even stronger and more intriguing.
Usually Internet trends come and go pretty quickly but the animal mask photography trend seems to be growing instead of fading. Perhaps one reason why people are embracing the trend is because it does provide some real anonymity. Another reason might be because it allows amateur and professional photographers alike the chance to create artistic photos that stand out and are different from the usual photos that people post on social media. After all, there are only so times you can look at a picture of a well decorated dinner plate or another bathroom selfie. Looking at people in animal masks is a lot more interesting.