Enneagram Photo Project {Part I.}

This project is ridiculously, wonderfully imperfect. It’s one of the earliest things that struck me about it, even after just the first couple interviews. From the questions asked, to photographers, interviewers and participants, weather conditions and locations, each interview involved in this project was remarkably different from the next– but in a completely natural, and unplanned way. I’ve found in hindsight, that these differences, image by image, speak to the type in question, in many cases serving as subtle symbolism. Each detail, color, word and movement (like our selves and lives) have happened without intent on my part, but with so much purpose in the end.

As I said when I began writing this blog, this is not a sum-up of the Enneagram, nor is it a good way to learn about the types– that’s what books like The Wisdom of the Enneagram and Character and Neurosis are for. The purpose of this project rather, is to explore the nine core Enneagram types, to give them voice about their experiences, and to allow the viewer to gain insight into the nature of each type. In truth, I also hope that this project will pique individual minds about their own inner workings, and those around them– that the darkness of our sin patterns (what the Enneagram is based on) would be brought even more into the light, so that we can begin to heal and grow towards health.

To capture a fuller picture (and rather than bombarding you with all twenty seven images at once), I’ve decided to present this project a center at a time– heart, head and gut, each group containing three Enneagram types. Today, I’ll begin (in order) with the heart types: 2, 3 and 4.

A note on seeing the images closer (to read all the quotes): click the image once, which should open a new page, and then click to see the full sized image. 🙂


The heart types have in common, themes of Identity, Shame and Worthlessness– these manifest differently for each.


Helpers place their identities in just that, self-sacrificially aiding and loving others. This often stems from feelings of shame, that tell them they must earn love, by loving others first and best. This of course often results in an entitled expectation of love from those that they “help”, resulting in resentment and anger. Internal message: you must love others to be loved.

You can check out my overview of 2 basics here.



3’s are the most unaware of their Identity themes, because they are said to “sacrifice their heart’s desires” at a young age, in order to meet cultural expectations– an Achiever’s qualms with identity are in finding one at all.  Because they are so focused on “winning”, they often adapt themselves (their identity) in order to meet the needs of a person, or situation– so at the end of the day, they are uncertain which “mask” is really them.  All of this achievement is often rooted in a belief that they must win to be loved or accepted, with only Shame to greet them if they don’t.  Internal message: You must be the best to be loved.

You can check out my overview of 3 basics here.



Individualists have a fixation with authentic Identity, and dig deeply into their own beings in order to find it. They err in believing that dark, painful things are the most real– this gives them a painfully accurate read on themselves, flaws and all, but usually leads to a disposition of shame (or feeling less). Internal message: You must be always authentic to be loved.

You can check out my overview of 4 basics here.

As always, feel free to reach out with questions or comments, and be sure to tune in for head types (5, 6 and 7) tomorrow! 🙂 I’d love for you to share this project, but please do not use the images without my express consent. Thanks!


So much thanks to all of my awesome participants, and friends who helped with interviewing! Photo credit for 1, 2, 4 and 7 goes to the lovely Jamie Gray, while 6 and 9 are the work of Tony Au. All quotes are the words of my participants, and the writing/artwork is my own. Thanks everyone, I couldn’t have pulled it off without you!

Enneagram Photo Project {Part I.}

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