Self-Portrait Project

Andy Lin runs the Self-Portrait Project, an interactive art and social change project dedicated to chronicling the spirit of New York City and, through his work at Other Worlds, the empowerment of disenfranchised people everywhere.

Putting the camera in the hands of the subject is at the core of Andy's work; it's about letting people construct their own identity.

The Project

He also came to us with a design. Right off the bat, we knew this would need some work. We quickly pared down the number of features to absolute requirements. We began sketching lo-fi prototypes to test out user onboarding and other critical views. (We're fans of getting something into users' hands as quickly as possible. To steal from ma.tt, “Usage is like oxygen for ideas.”)

Because we had never built a camera installation before, we knew we needed to test our assumptions about our hardware as quickly as possible before we could have confidence in an estimate for the whole project. If our controller's USB port turned out to be buggy (it did), or there were undocumented problems with our camera control software and recent Canon DSLRs (there were), we would need to make sure we could fix or the direction of the entire project would have to change.