Evan Baden

Evan Baden earned his MFA from Columbia College in Chicago in 2014. His work is held in public collections such as the Walker Art Center, Milwaukee Art Museum, FOAM Amsterdam, the Finnish Museum of Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Kinsey Institute. His work has been featured in numerous publications including TIME, The Guardian, FOAM, New York Magazine, Le Monde, D della Repubblica, Geo, and DIE ZEIT and many others. He has been the recipient of the Jerome Fellowship for Emerging Artists, the Stuart Abelson Graduate Research Fellowship, and Artist in Residence at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. He has been a finalist for the Betty Bowen Award, The McKnight Fellowship for Photography, the Outwin Boochever, as well as nominated for the Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers and the PDN 30.

The _____ High School Yearbook Project

Today, more than ever before, we are surrounded by lies. Our culture is dominated by photographs that desire desperately to be true. To serve as evidence of our travels, achievements, and popularity. The world of social media is a world of half-truths, exaggerations, and outright lies. This is the world that young people are attempting to grow up in.

For those mired in this newfound environment, their reality is different than those who have come before. The biographies that they form of everyone they know, even their most intimate of friends, are a mix of the fiction that they see in social media posts and the in-person experiences they have. No one is completely what they seem.

The images for The _______ High School Yearbook Project focus on a consistent group of young people. However, the high school they attend and the connections between them, like much of the world they actually live in, are a work of fiction. Using their own stories, rumors, pop culture influences, and their own desires, we create images that belong to a world that appears to be real; and as far as truth in our society is considered, it is. For often, the only proof that an event took place are the images that accompany the story, even if those images and events never took place as purported.

These images both question the legitimacy of the image as a record as well as the problem of striving to find one’s identity in a world of fiction.

To view more of Evan’s work please visit his website.