2003 Photo Contest, Science & Technology, 2nd prize

Sarah Leen

for National Geographic

07 April, 2002

A silicone mask of the face of Cassandra Wheatley captures the texture and appearance of real skin. It is being held by the model herself, and was made by the British firm Hybrid Enterprises. She sat immobile for 40 minutes while technicians painted silicone material on to her face, then covered it in plaster to make a mold. A second, flexible, mold was made over this cast. The two surfaces were separated and liquid, flesh-toned silicone injected between them. Peeling away the flexible mold revealed the final mask. False hair was applied using hypodermic syringes. This technology is primarily used to create prosthetics for the film industry, but is also being considered for medical applications.

About the photographer

Sarah Leen

Sarah Leen was appointed director of photography at National Geographic magazine in May 2013. She is the first female DOP in the National Geographic Society’s 125-year history. F...

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