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Every one of us keeps at least one thing quiet about ourselves. An unknown fact that we’d prefer remain unknown. Some secrets have the power to change history. Others merely save us from embarrassment. Yet we all yearn to discover other people’s secrets, at which point they instantly cease to exist as secrets and just become facts. Unless, of course, the secret is in fact a lie.

I persuaded a bunch of brave colleagues to each reveal a secret about themselves. The secrets are then paired with simple portraits. The hope was that this would help the viewer get a little closer to the person behind each portrait and perhaps to think a little about the broader concept of personal privacy and the barriers that we all place between us and others, whether strangers, trusted friends or loved ones.

“I have OCD! I have to buy things in even numbers. If I accidentally bump my right elbow, then I have to bump the left one as well.� Rena

“I’ll admit, I’m actually so handsome. I just hide it very well.” Ardi

“I always sleep without underwear.” Donna

“I can’t hide my emotions.” Edu

“I mastered the art of smuggling purchases from the store to my wardrobe. I know when to shop, hide and lie every time I buy clothes or bags (again and again), sneak them into my wardrobe to avoid the usual question “Is that new again?” from my husband.” Bellamia

“I’m afraid of dogs.” Fandi

“I am thinking of someone here (but who that is remains a secret).� Abay

“Don’t tell anybody...I’m Superman.” Emir

“I hid inside the refrigerator when I was a little girl.� DJ

“I used to eat crayons when I was a kid.” Deni

“I whistle when I laugh loudly because of the gap between my lower teeth.” Tini

“I think I know who Doraemon is. He sits not far away from me.” Afdal

“Oops! My boobs are not symmetrical.” Eny

“I keep my boogers under my bed.” Fahmi

“I once made a new colleague so uncomfortable at work that she resigned.� Nia

“My first job was working at Ramayana department store as a supervisor. What a great experience.� Tendri

“I can’t sleep in the same room as Tendri. He snores!” Fero

“Still thinking about my first love.” Oyi

“I’m a restless sleeper.” Afyon

“When I was seven, I went to Makassar. It was a long journey. Halfway, I was dying for a I peed on the seat.� Wati

“When I was little I liked to take money from my father’s piggy bank.” Heru

“If I’m drunk, I can throw up and poo at the same time... eeuwww!” Juju

“Thankyou to Dr. Pak Tek Long, who gave me a perfect dick so I became a real man.” Fajar

“When I was still in junior school, I would pretend to be sick and get sent home, just so I could watch cartoons.� Agung

“I always enjoy a piggy lifestyle on Sundays. I eat, sleep all day long and don’t take a bath at all.” Talitha

“I once couldn’t sleep for three months. To this day, if I remember that traumatic time, it makes me feel like dying.” Marwoto

“I’m afraid of clowns.” Inggrid

“Every night I sleep with my cat.” Nadya

“I cannot swim. I’ve tried so hard to learn, but still I cannot swim.” Redy

“I like my best friend’s boyfriend from 3 years ago.” Ami

“I’ve always wanted to be a superstar.” Arshinta

“I can’t sleep while thinking of my “X.” Rendi

“I never take a shower before going to work, but at least I have a shower 3-4 times a week.� Tarita

“I’m afraid of spiders. If there’s a spiderweb in my way, I’ll take a detour to avoid it.” Petrus

“The thing I like most in men is the back of their heads.� Ninin

“I cannot keep secrets...sshh!” Rindi

“I can become delirious in my sleep.” Roejoe

“I’m afraid to love and care for another dog since the death of my first dog Billy, who died after biting a poisonous frog.” Roche

“I have met aliens.” Soum

“I don’t have any secrets. I’m an open book.” Niken

Dedicated with huge gratitude to all my dear friends and colleagues at the TCP Group and TBWA Indonesia for their patience and indulgence during this project. Produced entirely during the month of August 2011 as my annual SoFoBoMo publication.

For those into the techy side of things, all images were captured with my trusty old 10mp Pentax K200D and 40mm F2.8 Limited lens, mostly at f11 since my monoblocs only go down to quarter power and the Pentax only flash syncs up to 180th of a second. Bummer! Basic lighting setup consisted of two Profoto Compact 300 monobloc heads, one fitted with a white Profoto ‘beauty dish’ softlight reflector, the other with a gridded Creative Light 1x4 foot strip softbox. A white collapsible reflector was occasionally used low down to fill in some nose shadows. As you can see, I’m still very much a beginner when it comes to lighting. As this was a massive shoot for me, my technique got a bit ‘sausage factory’ just to get everyone shot in time to meet the deadline. Big thanks to JeremyWhat at for the free wallpaper images used on the cover. MediaMilitia is a great resource for creative people. Typeface is Trade Gothic. Software used was Freehand and Photoshop.

Steve Dodds 2011

Do you have a secret? Ordinary photographic portraits of extraordinary people, paired with their own personal secrets. Knowing something so intimate about a complete stranger adds another dimension, bringing us closer to knowing the real person living within each two dimensional image. Steve Dodds 2011

Copyright Š 2011 Steve Dodds. This publication may not be copied, stored, shared or reproduced in any form, in part or whole, electronically or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author. Produced entirely in August 2011 as my contribution to the 2011 SoFoBoMo project, an annual international photo book event. More on


A series of portraits, each paired with a secret from the subject. My SoFoBoMo project for 2011.