“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Telling a story, sending a message, and speaking your mind, all without using words: this is what I believe makes photography a beautiful concept. My biggest motivation for photography was to use it as a technique to demonstrate my ideas and my voice. I.D. was my way of doing this—using photography to tell a story and display a powerful message within each detail of the images.
I.D. obviously stands for identification; however, with my images, I give identity a new meaning. My goal for the project was to show the beauty of unity, equality, and self-discovery. The backbone of the message is the importance of finding one's true identity and discovering oneself—while never defining oneself or anyone else based on race, religion, background, heritage, etc. Starting this project, I was hesitant because of how bold this statement is. However, I quickly got over this when I remembered the importance of speaking one’s mind in any way you can. Currently, there are seven images in the series; however, there are more to come to cover more issues and display more messages.
One thing I find extremely important about art is self-interpretation. I want everybody to interpret the images in their own way, as this feels more personal for an audience, rather than having every detail explained. However, I wanted to share the general idea behind the images. Whether it be emerging into one’s true self, pushing back against racial or religious profiling, or achieving self-discovery in today’s society, each image tells its own story incorporating the idea of self-identity. When our differences are celebrated, when individuals know who they want to be without judgment or pressure from those around them—this is the society we should be working toward. We must understand that we are all born human; we are all born equal; no matter our race, religion, background, creed, heritage, or sexual orientation, we are one. Despite life pressures or opinions of others, we must emerge into our true identity.
Art is a wonderful way to empower a voice and help shape society. I believe now more than ever that we must speak our minds; we must fight for what we believe in, and in every way possible. For me, my voice lies in my photography.
Ting Ting Chen