Wes Naman had a simple but strange idea for a series of photographs: using scotch tape to create and hold strange expressions on his subjects’ faces. With no shortage of volunteers, Naman created his “Scotch Tape Series,” which has now gone viral.
Some of the portraits are laughable, others are disturbing, and all are bizarre. Naman first got the idea while wrapping presents with his assistant, Joy Godfrey, around Christmas in 2011. At one point, Godfrey taped her nose into a funny position as a joke. Intrigued at the possibilities offered by such a simple household item, Naman eventually decided to do a Scotch Tape series.
“I thought it would just be a fun side project but as it started to progress people really started to get into character and go over the top,” he recalled. A commercial photographer based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wes Naman relies on side projects like this to keep his work fun and his creative juices flowing.
“What I’m ultimately aiming for with my work is to create a catalyst to help people see the world a little differently,” he said. The photos in the Scotch Tape series certainly accomplish that through their absurdity of expression. “Deep down it’s always nice when people have a strong reaction to my images,” he says. “I’ve had fun with this series but I’ve gotten it out of my system and I’m ready to move on to the next one. And there is no telling what that will be.”
The final photograph series has been compared to Douglas Gordon’s Monster, Tadao Cern’s Blow Job series, and Francis Bacon’s oil portraits. Though silly in nature, many of the final images promote deeper though, questioning, and strong emotional reactions. We’ll keep our eyes out for Wes Naman and his next creative project.