This is Dek Unu Magazine. In Esperanto, dek unu means "eleven." Eleven images from a single artist. Eleven artists in eleven solo issues in each publication year.
Dek Unu publishes the work of a new artist-photographer in each issue. The artist's work and words are featured alone and in individual focus as the sole purpose for each issue of the magazine. Unlike other arts and letters magazines which might look for work from a variety of artists to support an editorial staff's theme, at Dek Unu, theme and imagery are always each artist's own.
Franco-American artist-photographer Emmanuelle Becker, a self-proclaimed workaholic, is almost incomparably prolific. She says that “finished” means “posted” and her Instagram account and website constitute a huge library, with rooms for botanicals, architecture, whimsical abstractions, street photography, straight portraiture, travel images, still lifes, photocomposites, and, lately … masks. The eleven surreal portrait masks in this month’s edition are just a few among many, many extraordinary, haunting examples in this corner of her library. “Unmasked,” and all of Becker’s other projects, always involve themes and variations, creative experiments that dig deeply into the visual and conceptual possibilities of each subject. Given the volume of her output, it is remarkable that each image, regardless of content, and each series, regardless of the number of elements, shows her artist’s “eye” – that ineffable knack for seeing and framing that creates visual life and very clearly distinguishes meaningful, authentic photo-art from snapshots.
Unless noted, all images ©Emmanuelle Becker
The oldest masks date back to the Neolithic Age. Made of carved stone or hardened clay, some imitated animals but many, like these, are distinctly human in configuration and proportion. In their way, researchers have theorized that stone age people found magic in their masks. Although the theory may or may not be true, there is magic aplenty to be found in the spell cast by Emmanuelle Becker’s unforgettable masks.