The Public Profile Project is photographer and Feature Shoot Editorial Assistant Jenna Garrett‘s ongoing project exploring the subcultures, identities, and lifestyles that sustain themselves on the Internet. For the past year and a half Garrett has been appropriating images and video from Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube, putting together extensive, curated collections that speak to underlying themes of exploitation, mimicry, and feminism.
The Public Profile of an American Girl is one of Garrett’s works within the larger project, and at its core lies Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, of which says: ‘When you publish content or information using the public setting, it means you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).’ Garrett has collected almost 5,000 Facebook images that girls have labeled “public”—cue in Garrett’s ability to reproduce and use them—and has grouped them into categories of recurrent photographic cliches she began to notice, coining them ‘The Face’, ‘Licking My Friend’, ‘Gang Sign’, and ‘Car Self Portrait.’
The collections are intense—visual mash-ups of Internet persona phenomena—one after the other, after the other, in an almost overwhelming flurry. When extracted from their cozy homes online and placed in the tangible world, the images are at once utterly fascinating and frightening, begging collective reflection and the questions, how did we get here, how did we come to this?
What began for Garrett as an exercise in curiosity, her collections of imagery have morphed into a big picture look at Internet culture and the perceptions that fuel it, becoming an archive of a certain generation, who as Garrett says, “appear to expose themselves at any cost.”