This photographic series considers our ever-shifting identities. The portraits are physically disrupted to represent the influence that people and media have on our sense of self.

Just as a photograph becomes defined as the physical object itself, the specific moment in time it was taken, what is included within the frame (as well as what was left out), and the vantage point from which it was taken.

Our identity can be defined by our physical appearance, traits and characteristics that we choose to reveal, and the way we position ourselves in the world at a specific moment in time.

Both can be thought of as a representation of truth, whilst at the same time not being the only truth. And both can be interpreted and misinterpreted by the viewer depending on the lens of their own experiences, judgements and beliefs that alter their perceptions and how they view the world.

This artwork plays with the ideas of what a photograph is and what it can be, whilst posing similar questions about what we think of as identity. Society has created categories, subcategories and rules of what is required to conform to certain identities, and with it, we become bound by stereotypes and expectations. We adjust our behaviour accordingly.

The work questions the notion of a fixed and stable identity and emphasises the fluid and contingent nature of what we think of as the "self". It highlights the various ways in which we construct and perform our identities in different contexts and the ways in which our identities are mediated by others.

Through this photographic series, I hope to encourage viewers to reflect on the social dynamics that shape our understanding of ourselves and others.

Can we imagine a world where none of the categorisations of identity exist? Who would we be? What could we let go of? What stereotypes and expectations would we most like to be free from?​​


I wanted to explore the idea of what is displayed of ourselves to the outside world and also how what the world sees and interprets of us impacts who we are.

Society’s expectations of women may on one level seem invisible but as we butt up against them we can sense and feel when we do not neatly sit within their bounds.

I wanted to explore this concept by using acrylic paint to show the invisible becoming visible as the subject in the image collides against the bounds that contain them. The bounds that represent societal expectations of what we're expected to be.

Trapped within the image of ourselves

Adele Annett


Digital Identities

Adele Annett

This work considers online identity. Particularly the online personas we create and perhaps feel the need to maintain.

The video work above is how I often feel about sustaining a social media presence, particularly on my business accounts where I feel I have to be consistent and appease an algorithm and all the rules of "successful social media engagement".

Following this I look at how the digital world impacts the physical. Considering how the software behind filters impacts our physical ideals around beauty.

Finally, there is a more general exploration into online identities and the different sides of ourselves that we show in different online spaces.

adele-annett - digital-manipulations-2

Beauty Ideals

Many faces



adele-annett - digital-manipulations-2
adele-annett - digital-manipulations-2

Manipulation of Identities


surface impressions



Working with the idea of identity as a flat 2D photograph.

Both someones identity and a photograph give a first impression or snap shot rather than an in depth understanding of what is contained within. Each are open to the interpretation and the perceptions of the viewer.

As a viewer we often take these snapshots of a person’s identity and create a more in depth version of that person mentally, forming ideas and stories about them based on the surface level information we have.

As we create a 3D version of who they are in our minds, that 3D version becomes skewed and weighted with our own perspectives, experiences, ideas, judgements and beliefs.

These 3D objects are a visual representation of how we take two dimensional information and fill it with our own stories to shape and give depth to the people we meet and how that shape/depth is often very different to reality.

In the finished pieces the viewer gets to see different aspects of the photograph/individual depending on the perspective and position from which they're viewing the object, manipulating what they choose to see.

Surface Impressions




Working with ideas of how identity shifts and alters through time.

The work considers how we construct our ideas of identity on past versions of ourselves, quite often from the family album and what our families tell us about who we were in our younger days.

But those memories and identities are hazy and fractured and if in a family album, almost always a little rose tinted.

These fractions and snippets of our past selves are woven into a sense of who we once were, the foundations of who we've become. They give a distorted sense of what the reality may have been away from the camera as the curator tries to present a version of what they wanted everyone to see.

This is my take on The Family Album and what it tells us about ourselves.

Hazy Rose Tinted memories from the family album



adele annett iterations and lost parts

These portraits are physically disrupted to represent how the people and media we interact with alter and shape who we become.

The images represent iterations of identity, self representation and belonging during a particular place and time.

By disrupting the photographs flat surface and altering what we expect to see I attempt to play with visual perceptions both in terms of what a photograph is and our perceptions of identity. Both being constructs of culture, one visual and the other social.

This work looks at the more permanent ways in which we are changed through our relationships with others and also the more temporary manipulations of what we show, hide and alter of ourselves in everyday life.

Itterations and lost parts




This series of images considers the aspects of our identity that we choose to show and hide. What we conceal and what we reveal in order to fit in and feel a sense of beloning.

Social norms and sterotypes are often the main determinant of what we choose to conceal, allowing only the parts of ourselves that we feel will be accepted to be viewed by others.

Depending on the social situation or the people we are with the masks we choose change.





The unravelling cotton represent the threads that have been woven through time, into the fabric of our being. A weaving of the past into the present, of what came before being woven into what we have become.

In order to understand ourselves better we must be able to unravel what has come before, lay it bare and decide which parts we wish to keep hold of. So much is passed on from generation to generation, understanding the tangled web that is woven into who we are can take a lifetime of unravelling.



Nobody Likes A Show-off



DURATION 3mins 14secs

What makes us conform to society's norms? What makes us let go of or hide certain aspects of who we are? Why do we feel a sense of shame for not fitting in?

I consider how societal messages and conditioning are unconsciously passed on through the generations.

We are wired for connection and belonging and it is the fear of not belonging that results in our blind metamorphosis into whatever it is we need to embody in order to find acceptance and feel valued or loved.

We internalise so much and turn it into what we believe to be normal.

How much of ourselves do we surrender in the pursuit of acceptance?