The Digital Journalist
Justin Lively Expressions of Self

At seventeen I picked up my father's old Pentax and proclaimed it mine. I took my camera everywhere and made pictures whenever the urge seized me. I photographed friends, trees, landscapes. After a year my interest in portraiture grew into fascination. I wanted to make portraits of friends so that I would never forget their faces. I have a strong, personal connection to these portraits, just as I do to the people in them.

Originally, I described my project as a study of light using portraits as the canvas, but it evolved into a different project involving self-discovery and self-expression. My work has helped me to see myself in a more honest light. Making portraits is important to my happiness, and as long as I continue to meet people I will continue to make portraits.

I intend every ingredient in my portraits to augment the importance of the subject and the beauty of the person. I choose industrial, decaying, and dark environments. Light comes from the sun, whether direct, filtered, reflected, or diffused. I study the way my friends hold themselves, look for a certain true expression. I see this world held within the confines of a square, the format of my photographs. Among all these ingredients is a person, a friend, whose timeless gaze is either looking out at you, or away from you, or through you.