design & photography

The Humanness Project


What makes you human?

Humanness. Why does this definition vary among each individual while at the same time it is our only common denominator?  In this season of my life I feel as though I have been made more aware of my own humanity — through my inadequacy and perseverance, my transition and uncertainty, and most of all my continual search of answers about why and what’s next, yet coming up short every time. 

I first engaged in this project, asking "what makes you human?" during my senior year of college. I surveyed a number of my friends, asking them to carefully think through this question, I photographed each person challenging them to think about their own humanness. Through the initial project I learned more about what it means to be human discovered, and more intimately, who these people were. This selection of people, however, were very like minded, had walked through a similar 4 year experience, and came from relatively similar socio-economic backgrounds. As I transitioned to the city of Chicago I was faced again with the question of what it means to be human, both in my own life and in my neighbors’. I am confident that what it means to be human can’t be fully defined by one person, one voice, or one story, but in fact we can determine a more accurate definition when we engage with those who are different from ourselves and from each other. 

I want to learn from the city and people of Chicago, and as I listen closely to the voice of another and photograph the physicality of their humanness I hope to become more aware of the ways we our similar and that our needs aren’t so different — how our humanness unites us.