Photojournalism PhotoEssay: More Than A Barcode

Interrogating Identity and Spaces:

We are more than the spaces that we occupy and the labels that we assume through the roles we play in our daily lives.

‘Places are meeting places of different people, different groups, and different ethnicities. In human terms they are the entanglement, the meeting up, of different histories many of them without previous connection to others.’

Doreen Massey, 2002

Identity is ever changing; one’s identity is made up of character combined with how their identity fits within their family, social roots etc. People’s identities are also influenced by the spaces they occupy and the people around them.

More Than A Barcode explores the idea of place identity, which states that identities are formed in relation to environments – a sub-structure of a person’s self-identity that consists of knowledge and feelings developed through everyday experiences of physical spaces. I interrogated the idea of different spaces identifying individuals and how those individuals define the space they occupy. Place Identity explores the meaning and significance of places for those who inhabit the space and the users of the space. Furthermore how these meanings contribute to individuals’ conceptualizations of self.

Through this project I was interested in visually communicating how spaces provide a sense of belonging, construct meaning, foster attachments, and mediate change, by exploring the social constructs – as the making of place identity in a community also relates to the exclusion or inclusion in a community. I really wanted to show how to some extent the space in which one occupies and engages in, is dependent on the agency they have over their own spaces. More Than A Barcode shows how the place identity of a person can inform their experiences, behaviours, and attitudes.

Some identities get lost when they are represented through certain narratives. Therefore More Than A Barcode shows how people’s experiences of the urban landscape intertwine the sense of place and the politics of space. Another way in which identity is connected to a particular place is by the feeling that one belongs to that place. It’s a place in which one feels comfortable, or at home, because part of how one defines yourself is symbolized by certain qualities of that place and More Than A Barcode depicts this.

More Than A Barcode shows how Like identity, our sense of place is fluid; it changes as the place changes and as we change. One’s sense of place becomes part of their identity, and one’s identity affects the ways we define and experience place. Therefore in the construction of identities, part of what one does is to instil place with meaning by attaching memories and experiences to the place.

PhotoEssay Images:

Image 1:

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 2: 

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 3:

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 4:

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 5:

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 6: 

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 7:

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 8:

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 9: 

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 10:

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Image 11: 

Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

Even though to a large extent, space defines people, people define the spaces in which they occupy. Limiting a person’s identity to the place in which they inhabit restricts our understanding of one another. More Than A Barcode tries to push one to question what the meaning of space and identity means to individuals and those interacting with it.

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