Daniel Handal was born in Honduras and moved to the United States in 1994. He received his BS in Applied Sciences from Rutgers University and studied Photography at the International Center of Photography. Handal's work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. He has had a solo at the Brooklyn Public Library (Flatbush Branch) and has been shown in group exhibitions at the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Deborah Colton Gallery in Houston and The powerHouse Arena in New York among others. He has been exhibited internationally at the Australian Centre for Photography and MKII in London. Handal has been awarded with residencies at the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts and the Center for Photography at Woodstock. He currently lives and works in New York City.
These photographs are part of a documentary series titled “Female Masking”. A form of cross-dressing that involves the wearing of women’s fetish wear and latex mask in order to transform oneself into a rubber sex doll. Members of the masking community create alternate egos that allow them to play off of these made up personalities both online and offline. The malleability of their identities is then reinforced by documenting their role-play with photographs of each other’s characters and postings of their stories on community blogs. At the core of my interest lies the erotic charge of such a plastic makeover while at the same time, exploring in all it’s glossy facade the voyeuristic act of picture taking.
In this series, my main visual inspiration comes from the beauty industry. I’ve found that with some fine-tuning – for instance, the use of a mask – resembles the frozen expression of beautiful people we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in fashion magazines. The models that inspire me have been stylized and retouched to where they are no longer real. They have no pores, no blemishes, no problems. My work depicts the next step for this creature, with her overtly clinical sexuality; the next rung on the ladder of a de-humanizing evolution.
The Museum of Sex, New York, NY
The Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY
The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, NY