text and photos by Phil Kneen
edited by Victor Anton
I’ve been fascinated by horror films since a very early age and the mask images are really just a way of trying to recreate scenes from these films – I love to be scared! I also love to get a reaction, and these shots get a reaction!
I want to challenge the idea of the portrait, moving the concept of capturing the face into exposing the darker person within.
‘Rubber Band Face’ 2010, ‘Pig Mask’ 2009, ‘Young girl with Pig Mask and knife’ 2008 are examples of such work.
Phil Kneen was born in 1969 and lives in Peel on the Isle of Man. He is married to Helen and has three children.
Owning his first camera at the tender age of 15, he soon discovered his love for creating beautiful images. At 17 Phil became a night club photographer and after extensive travelling studied photojournalism at Leeds [University] in 2003.
As his technique developed, he began to focus exclusivly on portraits, extemporising props to extend the personality of the subject into sometimes uncomfortable areas.
He has created a number of guerrilla exhibitions in locations throughout the Isle of Man and is currently working with the Times, Guardian and Professional Photographer Magazine.
In 2009 and with writer Trevor Gibbs, he created the moving Solway Harvester exhibition which documented those involved in the tragedy where 7 fishermen lost their lives. The project was supported by the Arts Council and culminated in an exhibition at the Villa Marina in 2010.
He was the runner up in the Guardian ‘photograph of the year 2010’ for ‘An English Gentleman’ and is currently shortlisted in the NME Professional Photographer of the year award 2011.