Portrait Photography in the form of a 140 Character Tweet

No CommentsPosted March 17, 2014 by Emily McInnes

Lori Hepner
@whitehouse, 3 Aug via web RT @LeftyTWS15, #WHChat what’s the hold up on the FAA contract?“, 2012
from the series Status Symbols
$35 | $60 | $250 | $500 | $1000 USD.

Lori Hepner
@nytimes, 28 May via The New York Times: Egypt Permanently Opens Gaza Border Crossing“, 2012
from the series Status Symbols
$35 | $60 | $250 | $500 | $1000 USD.

The series Status Symbols by American artist Lori Hepner, redefines what we traditionally know as “portrait photography”, by transforming 140 character updates from Twitter into a still photograph. Lori creates these abstract portraits through custom created hardware and software that uses spinning LEDs to convert each letter into flashing bursts of binary code, which she then captures with her Hasselblad into the images that you see here.

The result is a series of virtual portraits that are studies of identity in the digital age. 140 character updates on Twitter allow for virtual personas to be created that differ greatly from the traditional portraiture formula of “the gaze” (where, for example, one’s character might be inferred from their image). Each portrait represents a fleeting moment of identity through the lens of social media updates.

Before I go further, I think I might have come up with the coolest wedding gift idea ever. Imagine commissioning Lori to transform wedding vows into fine art? I like the idea so much that I asked her while I was typing this if she’d be into it, and she said yes! Email me at emily@eyebuyart.com for details.

Watch Lori’s TEDx Talk and find out how she works:


Lori Hepner is an interdisciplinary artist who explores translation of code through performance, video, and photography. Lori’s work has been exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Duke University, Silver Eye Center for Photography, the 2011 Lishui International Photography Festival in China, and the 2010 PhotoEspaña Festival, among others. Lori earned an MFA in Digital Media from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design, and a BFA in Fine Art Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. Lori is an Associate Professor of Integrative Arts at Penn State Greater Allegheny and has a studio in Pittsburgh, PA.

Happy collecting art lover!

Emily McInnes
Founder and Director

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