Our Story

The Self-Portrait Project (SPP) was created by National Geographic Traveler award-winning photographer Andy Lin, who was a co-founder and artistic director for Other Worlds, a multi-media non-profit which sought to document and disseminate cases of living, thriving alternative economies around the world.

During his time with Other Worlds, Andy traveled the globe photographing social movements such as the Landless Workers Movement of Brazil (MST); worker-controlled factories in Argentina; a gifting economy in Mali; and the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico. The self-portrait mechanism in SPP is influenced by the belief ingrained in many of these societies that decisions are best made by those directly affected by them, or, said another way, “nothing about us without us”.

SPP is influenced by and owes a spiritual and aesthetic debt to a wide variety of sources, including Storycorps; the archival work of John and Alan Lomax; Farm Security Administration images from the New Deal; analog photo booths, Susanna Kraus’ revitalization of the Imago self-portrait camera, the Handsworth Self-Portrait, David Attie’s Russian Self-Portraits, and an endless array of photographers from Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, and Paolo Roversi, to Sebastião Salgado, Malik Sidibe, and Henri Cartier-Bresson.