The Quantified Self

Travis Hodges (GB)

The Quantified Self

Photographs of self trackers, ongoing since 2014

The project is a photographic exploration of self tracking comprising of portraits, graphs and interviews with dedicated self trackers. The Quantified Self is the process of self knowledge through self tracking. Once the preserve of researchers and technology junkies, logging personal data is rapidly evolving into a mainstream trend as people are able to use smartphones and wearable sensors to record an expanding range of statistics and make use of its analysis.

Many of the commonly noted metrics relate to health and self improvement, but almost anything can be tracked; sleep, exercise, mood, weight, the list is almost endless as are the individual motivations for it. This project looks at the stories of the people who self track, the data they collect and their motivations for doing so.

About Travis
I’m fascinated by people and uses my camera to explore what makes them interesting, from well-documented celebrities to those who have never stood before a professional photographer in their lives. My work, from time-pressed editorial shoots to longer-term personal projects, is people-driven and examines what makes us who we are. My client list includes Adidas, The New York Times and Virgin Media. My images are seen in magazines such as The Independent New Review, Wired and ES. Personal projects allow me to further explore the human condition and consider how people come together in tribes through common interests or habits. My projects Follow Me and The Quantified Self investigate how technology is impacting on the way we live.

How did you get started lifelogging/analysing data?
I am not personally lifelogging any data, my interest in the subject comes from a fascination with how technology impacts on individual lives as well as its influence on society.

Why do you find lifelogging so interesting?
I was inspired to create my project by the stories of those involved in logging data, many of the people I met have very personal reasons for monitoring their lives and I have tried to convey that through my images.

What's your favourite time of day?

Do you remember the first electronic device you owned?
Radio-controlled car.

What do you want done with your data after you die?

What websites, magazines or other resources inspire, confound, amuse or irritate you?
Wired magazine is the launching point to much of the research for this project. I also learned huge amounts from the personal blogs of those depicted in the project, particularly Alex's blog telling the story of his Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis and tracking -

We're creating a speculative timeline of the possible future of lifelogging. We're asking everyone to make one prediction for a future date. What's yours? Feel free to think big!
Within the next five years the general public will gain such an understanding of the power of data that there will be both an increase in the desire to use their personal data and a backlash against organisations who are quietly collecting data for profit.


Travis Hodges would like to thank Photofusion Gallery and Institute Artists for their support with this project. The project is exclusively represented by INSTITUTE <>