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people of kau – leni riefenstahl

︎Photography   
︎ Mat Maitland


"I’m attracted to the idea of projected characters and personas - a way of twisting reality"

I have always been fascinated by masks and the facade of fantasy, it's something that often (unintentionally) flows through my work and even on my Instagram through some of the visual references I post.

I’m attracted to the idea of projected characters and personas - a way of twisting reality - because even in the smallest way we all use props to express our individuality to present something of ourselves outwardly but in the creative arts it is especially powerful when elevated beyond the every day and into the realm of theatre.






“in the creative arts it is especially powerful when elevated beyond the every day and into the realm of theatre.”
It’s partly what attracted me to this body of work by German photographer Riefenstahl - aside from the fact that the photographs themselves are truly striking. The images below are from the book People of Kau, published in 1976 and featuring a portfolio of stunning images depicting the tribal face painted designs of the Kau tribe. It has to be said that Riefenstahl was something of a controversial figure which I won’t go into here as you can read more online if you choose to.








Mark