The veil has become a contested symbol of ethnic and cultural identity. But it was not always this way. The earliest evidence for veiling is an Assyrian legal text dating from the thirteenth century BC, requiring women of clearly defined social status to wear veils, and prohibiting prostitutes and slaves from doing so. At that time, the veil was used to distinguish respectable women from those who were publicly available.
The tradition of veiling women during a wedding dates back to the Roman Empire. Called a flammeum, the veil covered the bride’s head, but not her face, and was large enough to wrap around her. The flammeum were throught to be either a yellow or red color. Wearing it would make the bride appear as if she were a candle flame. This was done to ward off evil spirits that might threaten to ruin the marriage.
In this series, we pay homage to the veil as a spiritual source of confusion to the evil spirits. The series begins with a model, Maya, wearing several different veils that hide her face from the world. In the second part of the series, the veil is used to wrestle with, and ultimately to ward off, the evil spirits. This battle is depicted in a series of long-exposure photographs.