Nov. Flickr Photo of the Month – Hemis-face

Once you’ve worked at the Museum for several years, you begin to think you’re familiar with everything, from the smallest object in the most remote exhibit hall to the most visible – giant dinosaurs. And it’s wonderful – objects are like old friends you pass every day in the halls.

So for me, one of the best things about HMNS pool on Flickr is that the amazing photographers who wander our halls are constantly showing me things in a new light. In the case of this month’s pick, Hemis-face by KenU Diggit?, I was completely blown away by something in one of our permanent exhibits that (even after almost five years here) I had actually never seen before. From the composition of the photograph to the contrast in the piece itself, this is a stunning image. Here, KenU Diggit? reveals his technique:

During my short time as a photography hobbyist, fresh perspectives, sharp contrasts, and textures affect how I compose every photograph. The process is simple: find something to shoot, try an interesting approach to the subject, and capture the picture when my “gut feeling” says so.

I have an affinity for macro photography; I love to take pictures as close as I can get to the subject. Little details and subtle textures are more easily captured this way. I was drawn to the wisps of hair and the wear upon the mask. The simple black background give the object the full attention of the viewer.

“Closeness” emotes intimacy. This is the reason why I chose to capture just a portion of the mask. The asymmetry adds an edge and a fresh angle of viewing. I also chose to focus on the eye of the mask. Due to this, the slightly blurred foreground of the mouth and brow creates a sense of depth and draws the viewer closer to the object, as if the mask were only inches away from their own face. For a second, one could mistaken this for real human expression than just a simple mask. As you look it, it looks at you. Don’t be rude; say “Hello” back.

Hemis-face by KenU Diggit?

KenU Diggit? shot this in the John P McGovern Hall of the Americas, a permanent exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science that features thousands of years of Native American history – from parkas made from seal intestines by the Inuit in Alaska to amazing feather art of the Amazon. This particular object is a Windmaker mask, circa 1875 – 1900. I hope you’ll visit us – and see if you can find it, too.

So, what’s this Photo of the Month feature all about? Our science museum is lucky enough to have talented and enthusiastic people who visit us every day – wandering our halls, grounds and satellite facilities, capturing images of the wonders on display here that rival the beauty of the subjects themselves. Thankfully, many share their photos with us and everyone else in our HMNS Flickr group – and we’re posting our favorites here, on the Museum’s blog, once a month. (You can check out all our previous picks here or here.)

Many thanks to  KenU Diggit? for allowing us to share his stunning beautiful photograph. We hope this and all the other amazing photography in our group on Flickr will inspire you to bring a camera along next time you’re here – and show us what you see.

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