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30-Day Identity Dilemma

Artist Statement

30-Day Identity Dilemma is a reflective project comprising two passport photo series captured on 27th May 2024. The first set was taken at a shop on Lewisham's High Street, while the second set was snapped at an automatic photo booth inside the Lewisham Shopping Centre. Each photo is accompanied by annotations noting the date, time, location, and cost, preserving the nature of this identity documentation.


The initial photo, acquired at the shop, met the official standards for a passport photo: correct facial proportions and no glasses, per their request. However, it failed to resonate with my sense of self upon examination.


Seeking a more authentic representation, I visited the shopping centre's photo booth opposite the shop. Despite numerous attempts, I struggled to produce a satisfactory image. Eventually, I settled on one closer to my perceived identity but did not meet the passport photo criteria.


Through this project, I explore the interplay between internal identity and external standards. While the passport photo dictates an expected appearance, the discrepancy between self-perception and imposed expectations becomes evident.


Ultimately, whether accurate reflections or not, these two sets of passport photos hold validity within the system for a fleeting 30-day period before they are discarded indefinitely. 


But who am I? Eventually, my identity is supposed to last more than 30 days. We must search for this study for the rest of our lives. Through the impermanent nature of these passport photos, I invite viewers to contemplate the enduring quest for self-discovery and the complexities of identity.


Wai Kit Lam

London, United Kingdom


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