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Identity Docs

Photography and Identity

Exploring the issues in the new look RPS Journal

I am still considering stuff in the new look RPS Journal of July / August. I have spent a fair bit of time on the Graduates section, looking at the work of MA and BA students. A common theme emerging out of a number of these has been the quest for identity and this had a real resonance with me for a number of reasons.

First, it has been a significant part of my working life. Printed portraiture to secure identity, locked together with the data in identity documents. The use of portrait photography not just for creative or documentary purposes but for authentication - as a proof of "you are what you say you are". I was particularly struck by the work of Adriana-Ioana Cosma, of Romania. I may well have played some part in securing her identity.

Second, the various uses of identity interest me. Why was that portrait taken and for what use? That was what originally caught my eye in the story of Sojourner Truth.

Finally, I am currently studying the use of photography as a contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. More than just Goal 16.9 "Identity for All"; photography has a wider part to play. I hope to bring some of you on this journey with me.