Hand-Cut Portraits Transform Human Faces Into Warped Sculpture [Pics]

Hand-Cut Portraits Transform Human Faces Into Warped Sculpture [Pics]
Arts & Culture

These abstracted human faces, believe it or not, are real-life sculptures.

Rachel Pincus
  • 20 december 2013

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to play with the Photoshop clone stamp in the actual world, look no further than the work of Australian artist Justine Khamara, whose work sees the human face as a collection of fascinating and endlessly mutable  elements.

It’s important to Khamara that her work is physical. “The physicality of the photographic paper is a quality that reveals itself when one slices into the surface of it with a very fine, sharp blade,” she told Wired. Sometimes the processes she so relishes cause her to forget completely that she’s working with a human face. While making the crinkled piece above, “the portrait image completely disappeared from my attention,” she explained. The close attention she pays to tiny details, even in their analog form, is a perfect response to the pixel-peeping that Photoshop makes possible. “I was totally focused on the undulating saturated shades of brown and pink that my blade was creating.”


In her ‘Godfinger’ series, Khamara has also worked with images of hands as well as faces, creating sea anemone-like masses that defamiliarize the human body. These, she said, “evoke biological processes of replication while also engaging with notions of self-representation in an era of instant, endlessly generative image production technologies.” Other series like ‘now I am radiant people’ evoke fractals found in nature. Her ideas – not doubt developed while painstakingly slicing photo paper and printing images in order to duplicate them – are the perfect accompaniment to her staunchly analog method, evoking biological growth instead of digitized replication. Check more of out her work below.

Justine Khamara

Images/Sources:astelvio, Beautiful/Decay,, Wired (John Brash)


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