The face mask has come to symbolise the Corona virus pandemic that has spread across the globe in the course of 2020 and altered daily life, economies and societies in ways previously unimaginable in the space of a few months.

Enforced with varying degrees of stringency in different countries, the wearing of face masks has become a social norm and encouraged as a form of self-protection as well as a duty of protecting others.

Obscuring the most recognisable part of people's anatomy, masks have also become a fashion item with myriad designs swiftly stitched together by enterprising companies everywhere.

Ultimately, it is and is meant to be a purely practical item and often ends up on the street, discarded like so many other disposable items.

Stefan Boness photographed discarded face masks as he, like most other photographers, spent the majority of 2020 close to home, in Berlin, Germany.
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