In Others’ Words is a project that originated in 2011 with the intent to explore correlations between identity, core interactive human experience, and stereotyping in Western society.
The labels that dictate how we are viewed by society are different, in many ways, from how we as individuals identify with ourselves. At times, it can seem as though the line between our self-identity and the identity placed on us by others is blurred. This makes it difficult for us to free ourselves from the confines of words, and alter the perception we have of ourselves.
In Others' Words explores this phenomenon by introducing and uniting individuals on the basis of their shared and personal experiences with labeling. Participants are photographed after undergoing a body-writing process in which they are physically marked by each other with the words they have experienced being defined as during the course of their lives. After this process is complete, they are photographed with a large format view camera in a public location as a voluntary act symbolizing the ownership of their individual and collective identity.
Volunteers for the project have described their experience as positive, memorable, and life- changing in terms of being able to liberate themselves from the confines of words, and step into their own skin on their own terms. Collectively they are unified by this experience regardless of their individual ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, or cultural background.
I invite you to expose yourself to the power and the bravery of said individuals when viewing these images. Dare to interact with them, and confront yourself as you mirror them while examining the role you play in their process. In turn, take the opportunity to reflect upon your own experience with being labeled in others’ words, and allow yourself a chance to see the world with renewed periphery.