These pieces are portraits. Each print uses words from a college admissions essay, and with these words, I have attempted to express another’s identity. I read essays about skinny-dipping, family dinners, ghosts, and Wisconsin, which highlighted for me the contrast between the common experience of writing a college essay and the innate individuality of each piece. Through the interaction of text and image, I created portraits where glimpses of the person can be caught through their writing. At times the words become a texture, while in other instances the words become the image itself. I explored the issue of turning something private public. The college essay is a personal statement, ironic in its intimacy, because it is written for and judged by complete strangers. In this piece, intimacy is translated to obscurity, and it asks the viewer to step closer to discern each individual’s identity.
Thank you to Will Adler, Ellie Camlin, Erika Eldrenkamp, Shannon Finnegan, Rachel Gottesman, Helen Grossman, Megan Hughes, Jhanna Kosicki, Miriam Leshin, Johanna Levy, Anna Minkina, Roma Patel, Becky Patrias, Joanna Plotz, Kate Richey, Lydia Russell-Roy, Stephanie Strother, Charlotte Turovsky, and Mikaela Van Sistine for graciously allowing me to read and use their admissions essays. Also thank you to President Oden for the use of his essay for the Wall Street Journal’s story, “Holding College Chiefs to their Words” from May 6th, 2009.