The sowei mask evokes an ideal. The deep, shiny black surface recalls the smooth skin of young initiates and the deep pools of water where Sande’s guardian spirit resides. The downcast eyes, scarification marks, demure mouth, and styled hair communicate dignity and composure. Neck rings and a high forehead add to the mask’s beauty.
Marilyn Nance is a photojournalist who goes her own way. She wants to tell the truth, particularly about her own community whom she calls ordinary working class Black folks. She follows her instincts, leading her down paths beyond still photography. Marilyn noted in a lecture at the Library of Congress, ". . . the commercial media often has no interest in showing the images that I feel need to be shown."1