Faceless in the gloom. The vision of Helminen
“Uniforms create unity and through them we can separate a soldier from a civilian.
But sometimes we hide in them when we do something that is really bad” says Helminen.
The faceless characters, identifiable only by their garb, remind me of some alternate history novel with no light, with a good sprinkle of Neil Gaiman style bleakness thrown into the mix. These non-faced people have never seen the sun or felt it on their skin. I also can’t envision them smiling.
Probably our of all Helminen’s work it is “The Invisible Empire” series that is my favorite. Each photo reflects our society in decades past, from military uniforms to dresses and street clothes. Various roles are also shown as soldiers, religious figures and spouses. The lack of expressions and the lighting reflect a selection of emotions ranging from conspiracies and fear to anonymity and resignation.
This work looks like the coming of some super scary, unforgettable movie, or perhaps a video game. I would pay, no second thought about it, to see these characters come to life; to see the continuation of these lives in shadow that Helminen has managed to freeze in photo.
Check out more of his work here