Contextual Research

Identity: The conception, qualities, beliefs, and expressions that make a person.

It’s clear, no matter where you scrape a definition from, that identities are made up of a plethora of various characteristics. With such a wide variety of concepts available to explore, it was difficult for me to choose a place for me to begin my studies. After much debate, I asked myself, ‘What do I use to identity others the most’. For me, thats an individuals personality… So that’s where I’ll begin this journey.

Over the years, there have been many studies into identity, and how personality is a part of it. The most well known is Sigmund Freuds psychological study of the personality, and his break down of how they function.

In a summary, Freud established that for one to have a personality, they must be self aware. This concept of being self aware is then split into three areas within us all. The ID, the Ego, and the Superego. The ID is developed at birth, and is concerned with self indulgence, selfish desires and pleasures – even if they’re unobtainable. These needs are usually fulfilled through the imagination, or in some cases dreams. The ego, developed during toddler years, will attempt to satisfy the ID, but rationally, and realises the opportunity costs of any actions taken. There is a constant concern for reality. Lastly, the superego enforces a strict moral code, and it’s main weapon is guilt. This is usually developed by the time a child reaches the age of 5. Too much of a superego can lead an individual to the have impossible standards of perfection, and can often result in an individual developing neurotic anxiety.


There are also other elements to be considered. Whilst everyone develops thoughts within all three areas already noted, not all of them are done consciously. Most are actually formed in the unconscious. When an unconscious thought passes into the conscious, a person usually sees these as unacceptable thoughts and develops neurotic anxiety.

Freud further goes on to explain people block this anxiety through defense mechanisms. There are many including:

  • Repression
  • Sublimation
  • Displacement
  • Denial
  • Reaction Formation
  • Intellectualisation
  • Projection

The one that intrigued me most one displacement. Freud concluded that displacement isn’t just the obvious of taking feelings out on another, but can also be something much more in depth, and can often relate to fears. For example, Freud concluded that one of his clients sons, who had an extreme fear of horses, was actually a displaced fear of his father.

I found this an interesting concept, and I plan to base my coming shoot around this. I feel this subject is innocently sinister, and will make an interesting series.


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