Senior Thesis Project on Identity

Thesis Statement

Through advancing technology and increasing accessibility of photography 

coupled with the surge of social media, people have the capability to translate 

desired personal characteristics into creating and manipulating a social identity for themselves separate from their true identity.


Within the past two decades, social media has experienced exponential growth that permeates society and influences ongoing relationships between photography and identity. Delving into social identities and their composition within the scope of my perspective provides exposure to a more multi-dimensional identity. 

Individuals have a permeable and constantly evolving identity. By promoting self-reflection and analyzing the process to translate the characteristics they identify with, it creates a more intimate view of oneself and challenges self-perception. Through a series of personal interviews about what identity consists of, I built a profile per person and compiled the information received. Displaying differences between social media and personal identities provokes recognition of online personas and how it affects people and the social culture around them. Utilizing meaningful portrait photography juxtaposed with social media gives light to photography’s capabilities and impact on building identity.



The Individuals

Each person I reached out to was selected based on their basic profile to balance some of the diversity and produce a wider range of results. Half of the pool of people I contacted made it through the interview and subsequent photoshoot afterwards.

Bridget Agyare

Andrew Andrade

Ali Burney

Allison Chen

Katherine Chen

John Creger

Bryan Devicente

Ralion Herzog

Sharon Hoang

Sebastian Honigs

Shreya Joshi

Diane Lee

Tyler Mozetti-Cox

Bryant Pelaez

Melissa Pelaez

Ju’Wan Seaberry

Randall Sexton

Mylles Sipat

Stephen Ti

Danielle Tulabing



Refining the interview questions was one of the most crucial parts of the process. Since this project surrounds portraiture, the outcome is dictated by the selected people and their answers.




At least one day between the interview and the photoshoot was allotted to allow time to brainstorm and pitch the concept for the photoshoot. Photoshoots were scheduled simultaneously to maximize time. All 20 were conducted over a period of one month. 

Visual Translation

Based on the information I gathered from the interviews, I decided to develop profile

booklets to supplement the comparison of social media images to portraiture.

Every booklet is completely customized for the individual within and how their personality translates into visuals. All details from color and space to graphics and typography embody characteristics of the person as I know them.

Booklets are broken down into a teaser cover and 3 spreads to tell a story. 


The cover of each booklet within is composed of 5 colors defined by the key below. The size of each shape corresponds to how much of the color’s meaning is found within the person. Every individual also has their own color(s) that associates with their personality. 

Social Identity

The individual’s social identity through a social media post and its accuracy to their true self provide an introduction to the person. It is accompanied by a color palette of their personality. 

Developing Insight

A moodboard then unfolds utilizing graphics from their spirit animal to delve deeper. A brief profile and bio explain more about the person.

Full Picture

At the end lies the portraits to capture a broader picture of the person as I know them. Descriptive words supplement the picture for characteristics that add more dimensionality. I included the date that the portrait was taken to signify a frozen moment in the individuals' personality inside the frame.

The Box

The photography portfolio archival black proof box sets the tone of the project and teases just enough to create intrigue for what is inside. It was important to contain the booklets within a sturdy package to preserve the condition of the booklets and relate to photography as a fine art.

Inside the cover is an intro panel overview that explains the elements within. 

The box is broken down into 5 layers of booklets organized in removable frames.

The Booklets

Uncovering each individual builds a fuller picture of who they are juxtaposed with who I am. The bottom layer is my booklet to bring the perspective full circle. 

Click to explore the booklets below.

Layer 1


Layer 2


Layer 3


Layer 4


Layer 5


© 2020 Miranda Chang