For the Fans, By the Fans.
“This is how I feel.”
If you’re passionate about music, you can’t help but let the music you love shape you. The music you listen to helps you define yourself and make sense of the people and world around you. It can give you a sense of belonging. It becomes a part of who you are. The music you choose to care about can say a lot about you – what you value, what you believe in, what you stand for.
For thousands of us, Pearl Jam has been a defining and shaping force in our lives for years. The band has played an immeasurable role in helping us become who we are. Because of this deep connection, Pearl Jam fans are well known for being among the most loyal and passionate fan bases in all of music. This dedication compels many of us to see the band in concert every chance we can, traveling all over the world. In these travels, at these shows, Pearl Jam fans have forged a community known as the “faithfull.”
And when we see Pearl Jam together, our community sings along – loudly.
We sing along with lyrics that have deep emotional resonance for us. We sing our lungs out to songs that have guided us through dark days or give us hope for a brighter tomorrow. We sing along cathartically to songs we have used to cope with great loss in our lives. We sing elatedly along with songs that have brought us great joy. We sing along with lyrics that articulate how we’ve always felt. We sing as loud as we can with our “hands upraised and open toward the sky.”
Pearl Jam Fan Portraits is a collection of black and white photographs that capture the passion of Pearl Jam fans and our unique connections to the music through the lyrics that mean the most to us. A fan-run project, Pearl Jam Fan Portraits provides an outlet for fans to show who we are and how we feel. More than a quick snapshot to document a fleeting moment, a Fan Portrait is an opportunity for reflection, an opportunity for us to commemorate our fandom and the role these songs and lyrics have played in our lives.
We offer Pearl Jam Fan Portraits at Pearl Jam concerts (often at the WISHLIST FOUNDATION Pre-Party Fundraisers) and organize other events for you to document your passion for Pearl Jam.
To make each portrait personalized, you write down your favorite lyrics. We provide the paper and markers, but feel free to get creative and bring something with you!
Introducing Fan Portraits: In 2015, we launched Fan Portraits, which has expanded upon the initial project to capture fans of all music and bands beyond Pearl Jam, capturing that connection to the music that we all share.
We’ve taken Mike McCready’s Fan Portrait, as well as other musicians. More info on our partner site.
The photographer & founder, Tanya Kang:
“You all know the feeling. That moment when you’re at a concert, you’ve forgotten everything else in the world, all of a sudden the band starts playing your favorite song, and then you hear that one line. That single lyric that means everything. And for that moment, all is right with the world. That feeling that is almost indescribable.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without Pearl Jam and music. As a long-time fan of this band, I wanted to do something to capture how much the music means to all of us. And that’s what I’m doing with Fan Portraits.”
Tanya’s first Pearl Jam show was 3/3/1995 in Singapore. Only knowing a handful of songs at the time, it wasn’t until Yield was released when her world completely changed. She saw the band again in 1998 in Cleveland and instantly became a fan for life. With starting to travel around the country to see the band in 2000, she began to meet fellow fans. Over 80 shows and counting, one of the things she has enjoyed most is all the awesome fans she’s met along the way, including some of her best friends. It’s been inspiring to hear fans’ stories of how Pearl Jam’s music and lyrics have influenced and helped them through the good and the bad. Tanya is glad to be able to capture this meaningfulness and connection to the lyrics through photography.
As a photographer, Tanya started out using a 35mm with black and white film and spending endless hours in the darkroom. Switching to digital, she dove into travel photography during her year abroad in Japan and throughout her international travels. Now doing documentary, event, wedding and portrait photography, visit Tanya Kang Photography for more information.
The partner in crime, Michelle Wills:
The first song Michelle heard by Pearl Jam was “Evenflow” in early 1992. Sitting down to relax one afternoon before heading to work she flipped on MTV, they were playing a countdown show and the video came on. She remembers thinking “What is this? Who are these guys? I want MORE!” It was all over for her from that moment on; Pearl Jam has been her favorite band for the last 20 years. She connected with the music and lyrics in a way that had never happened for her with any other band. Her first show was in New Jersey in 1998; in 2003 she began traveling to see the band wherever she could. 55 shows and counting, she has enjoyed meeting people who love them as much as she does, people who aren’t just fans but now amazing friends. Pearl Jam has taken her up and down the east coast, to Wisconsin and Canada; she can’t wait to see where they take her next. She is thrilled to be helping in this project of capturing images of other fans demonstrating what the lyrics and the band mean to them.
This is a fan-run project. No official affiliation or association with the band Pearl Jam. This project is for the purpose of documenting and capturing the Pearl Jam fan base. Copyright is only for the photos and photography work.