Identity Project

Over the past several months I’ve embarked on a photo project quite unlike anything I have ever done before. My goal was to better understand what makes up a person’s identity, and then convey that through photographs in an organized manner.

My work has always focused on perfection, whether it’s fashion photos with ample retouching and attention to stylized beauty, or portraits that show a person’s most flattering side, it’s always about hiding flaws and showing people in the absolute best light possible. In other words, it isn’t totally honest. It’s what I want you think, or what I want you to see, or even what the actual subject wants you to see.

In this project I photographed 31 different college-aged people in Corvallis, Oregon. I had to meet with each person at least twice- once at my house, and once at their house. For the first part, I asked them to wear outfits that represented two totally different sides of their personalities. For the second part, I invaded their personal space, photographing the walls of their bedrooms, their closets, drawers, refrigerators, feet, hands, you name it. I organized all these photos into a spread for each person that together will (hopefully) be published into a square book. I ended up with 29 final pieces- 2 had to be thrown out due to errors on my own behalf (my apologies Harsha and Kelli).

The project took on a life of it’s own as I neared my deadline, and I learned a lot more than I originally anticipated. The most interesting part wasn’t necessarily taking or editing the pictures- it was learning about the similarities and differences I found in the people I knew and the people I got to meet. I was amazed by the things I learned about people by first seeing how they chose to represent themselves, and then second by seeing how their homes and things represented them in a different way.

Steven | Corvallis Headshots

Steven M. got in touch with me during finals week in Corvallis- needing headshots asap for his growing career as an actor. I was lucky to have time to photograph him on campus just two days later on a beautiful and rare sunny evening. He’s ridiculously tall- something around 6’7 – and I had to carry a stool around with me to stand on at some points. Here are a few of the shots:

Photography Documentary- and the laments that go with it

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. It’s not because I haven’t been busy, quite the opposite actually. The term ended- I had a million projects to finish, I had to go my sisters’ high school graduation, spent one day in Seattle, moved out of my Corvallis house and into my Portland house, etc.

But I know that all these little things don’t quite add up to enough of an excuse for my lack of blog activity. The real excuse comes hand in hand with this video, which you may have already seen. I posted it several weeks ago to my Facebook, but forgot to blog about it.

The video is a short documentary about the photography industry and the struggles that professional photographers are facing today. As someone who is hoping to break into the BIG commercial photography industry someday soon, making this documentary kind of broke my spirit.

I’m not trying to be dramatic here- but I’ll be honest- I have not been in a good state of mind. I should be happy and excited about owning a 5d Mark ii and having the creative power to make videos and pictures that people actually want to look at, but instead I am scared to death that none of this will amount to anything real. I want my photos to stand out, but the fact is that “standing out” is almost impossible these days, even if you are an incredible photographer. You need a lot more than just good photos to make it. You need business sense, personality, dedication, new media understanding, video understanding, and luck.

Being gloomy isn’t going to get me anywhere though, so I am going to start posting more, shooting more, and overall working harder than ever. I took several weeks to think and sulk, and now I am going to move on.

In the meantime, please watch the documentary if you haven’t seen it yet. It will open your eyes. It’s only ten minutes. The people I interviewed have some really, really interesting things to say. It’s by no means perfect- but it’s informative.

Here is the link:

Goodbye, Photography from Katy Weaver on Vimeo.