Masking Machine (photography series)

The Masking Machine is an ongoing still color digital photography series using machine learning to create masks of my face. Each image begins life as a simple selfie, the most quotidian, maligned, and rampant photography of our time. Next the images are feed into a landmark detection algorithm which finds the position of my facial features. Using this data I apply a layer of digital makeup, contact lenses, or glasses. Once saved I feed the image back into the landmark detection algorithm and begin again, over and over, building up eerie distorted masks of my own face.

Whether working in a dark room, coaxing chemical systems like wet plate collodion or cyanotype, or working with a black box, bartering with the algorithms like landmark detection or style transfer, what is photography if not scientifically processed image-making through a machine? And when done recursively, feeding the same image through that process again and again the machine itself also becomes visible in the images. Like repeatedly taking a pinhole photo of a pinhole photo until nothing remains but the artifacts of the photographic process itself made visible. Our time is caked with filtered images, largened eyes, and whitened teeth, all enabled by nearly invisible photographic algorithms. If we are to live with them I want them known, recognized, and understood and the Masking Machine is here to make them seen.

Pervious ML work: Performing in ML Ma