Last week, I wrote about the thrill of thrifting and how I hunt for props to use in my photo shoots. The responses I received from that article mainly commented on a small picture I included that showed a few of my gas masks from my collection. So I thought I would take the time to talk about gas masks, why I collect them, how I use them, as well as how they are used lately for creative purposes.
(Below images are a combination of my personal collection, FALT images, and TV stills)
To be honest, I'm not exactly sure why I find gas masks so appealing. I do know that I really started to enjoy them after creating a few military styled pin-ups back in 2010. When I spent quite some time researching different military attire, equipment, etc..I found myself staring at gas mask imagery in a wide variety of art categories and medias. There is a lot of fetish, gothic, steampunk, and apocalyptic (just to name a few) styled photographs and paintings that use gas masks in many ways. Sometimes the mask is just a prop that is off to the side or in the background, other times it is an accessory or wardrobe piece. It is so common to see gas masks in these popular genres that many people find them to be a bit cliche. If my interest in gas masks only existed because I thought they where a good way to add "edge" to my images, then it is like I would also find them to be a bit over used. But to me, a gas mask is much more fascinating than something that stands out as an "odd prop" (which is a bonus). Something about the history of them, the purposes they had then and have now, and the story behind them. Something about the roll they played in some of history's darkest times, as well as the most revolutionary times, REALLY draws me to them. Like I said, I'm not exactly sure what it is (just an idea), and hopefully I will never find myself in a situation where I need one in order to live. I will, hoever, continue to enjoy learning about gas masks, their history, style, types, etc...
I will also continue to collect as many different masks as possible, and as my collection grows I'll be sure to share my newest additions (and what I've learned about them) here for you to see.
Also falling outside of the alt cult base is popular first person shooter games that feature a more modern gas mask model, as well as popular movies that feature raid scenes. There is no shortage of influences that involve gas masks for artists of today. I hope to have a solid collection of different models as years go by, and I cannot wait to share it with everyone!