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.

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