Travis Hodges: The Quantified Self


Ian: 200+ lifestyle variables

London-based photographer Travis Hodges does it again, creating a series of images based around a digital trend. This time he looks at self tracking. Text and images by Travis.

"'The Quantified Self' is the process of self knowledge through self tracking. Once the preserve of researchers and technology junkies, self tracking is rapidly evolving into a mainstream trend as people are able to use smartphones and wearable sensors to record an expanding range of data and make use of its analysis. Many of the commonly tracked 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 tracking. This project looks at the stories of the people who self track, the data they collect and their motivations for doing so."

Following are excerpts from their stories - to read more head over to Travis's website. If you are in London, you can see the work at Photofusion, now through middle of August, with an artists' talk on August 7th.

Ian began tracking his health in 1974, recording exercise and weight. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2007 and given weeks to live. Ian now records over 200 areas of his daily life including liquid and food intake, alternative therapies, supplements, prescription drugs and biochemical measures. His spreadsheet now measures over 400 columns and 2,400 daily records.

Michael: Happiness



Michael designed and built an app called Happiness as a technological alternative to chemical anti-depressants. "By staying generally conscious of my mental state I'm able to spot patterns and make changes before anything gets too overwhelming. Tracking my happiness has also helped validate various life decisions that I might otherwise doubt... It's been a while since the app has shown me a big red warning necessitating a painful life decision."

Adriana: Emotion



Adriana uses 'Emotion Sense,' an app developed at Cambridge University, to monitor her mood and overall happiness. She inputs her mood on a grid; the app can use the phone's data to measure environmental and social influences such as how much you are using your phone and how active you are, through location tracking. Adriana always thought of herself as negative, but "it seems I am actually a lot happier and positive."

Owen: Mental performance


Owen, a qualified pharmacist, tracks aspects of his mental performance and the effect of coffee on his short term memory, reaction time, and processing capabilities. "When I first started, using a program called Quantified Mind, I checked my mental performance when I had coffee against when I didn't have it. The results showed significant improvements in the way my mind functions, and so I've been having it ever since."

Suran: Body shape



Suran steps into a 3D body scanner once a month to map his body shape and record measurements that would be unreliable if done by hand. "I got interested in monitoring my body-shape after my uncle died of a heart attack. One of the best predictors of heart disease is the size of your belly, but getting consistent and accurate measurements by tape measure is hard."

Barbara: Happiness and well being


Barbara and her family use a self-designed app to track and influence their happiness. By creating and sharing tasks based on  'eight areas of life' members of the family can see what each other needs to feel happy and therefore support each other in achieving their goals. One month Barbara set 80 tasks, achieving 76 which completed 9 of the 10 self defined stepping stones for her big picture of happiness and harmony.

All images © Travis Hodges. More from this series over at his website.

Think Barbara ever watches the world news?

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