Toledano’s faces

Phillip Toledano, from Gamers, 2003

Phillip Toledano is an enterprising photographer from the U.S. I recently posted about his satirical project America, the Gift Shop.

The startling image above is from a series on emotion and facial expression. It looks like someone inflicting pain, or receiving it. Could it have been shot in a gym, where pain is the currency? Or perhaps an acting class, with students performing scenes of violence? These are all good ideas and I should follow them up with my camera, since I’m interested in representations of the face. But they are not how Toledano captured the image, one of a series of intense portraits of emotion which you can see it at

“I wondered if there was a way to unconsciously tease out aspects of people’s personality, and capture it on film. So I had them play video games.”


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