What’s Everyone Looking At?
Ernio Hernandez

13th-16th century paintings of people were usually portraits — of course, there were no cameras to capture the faces of people. There are exceptions like battle scenes, depictions of myths & allegories, but a painting that features the subject’s back would have been extremely rare. Paintings honored the individual, documented history… Today, in the world of the selfie, anonymity is a rare form of privacy. Using an image of a faceless subject, placed in an unidentifiable location, leaves the possibilities for a story wide open. Creates wonder. Ifs and maybes. This is often seen in the design of book covers. If the image is too specific, a potential reader will say “that’s not me” and pass on a wonderful read. Lastly, the stand-in standing nowhere in particular, is an easy stock photo to sell. It’s more of a style than a trend and won’t be leaving us anytime soon.

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