Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What's in a name...

On the first day of Kindergarten, I met four other girls named Jennifer. I call that incident my first identity crisis; it was the day my name changed from "Jennifer" to "Jennifer K," a moniker I carried with me until I went to college and became "Jen."

I have always been fascinated with life stories, with the seemingly mundane, with the choices and experiences people make, with how their lives take shape. So, I decided to develop an oral history / photography project that blends my interest in life stories, portraiture, and with the name Jennifer.

The Jennifer Project chronicles the experiences of Jennifers as they move through their lives with a name carried by many other women, asking: has the name influenced the way they live their lives? has it been a challenge for them? what are the techniques they have used to deal with multiple Jennifers in their lives?

Thus far, I have held two local Jennifer photo shoots, interviewing the Jennifers, and then taking their portraits. I'm hoping to do one Jennifer photo shoot per month. If you or anyone you know is a Jennifer, please check out my blog or contact me on: I am hoping to have at least 20 Jennifers photographed for the exhibit. I have a solo show scheduled at Kaladi Brothers Coffee in December. It is my hope to get the exhibit finished by then, but I'm still hunting down Jennifers...

In addition to the photo exhibit, The Jennifer Project, upon a suggestion by a Jennifer, has gone on Twitter. Many non-local Jennifers have sent in their biographies to be included in the project.

It's been an interesting journey thus far; I am learning a lot about myself, how the name has influenced me, and meeting people from around the world who carry my same name. I look forward to meeting more Jennifers in the coming months.

Project blog:
Twitter: @thejenproject

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