The Secrets Series, begun in 2003, is a set of filmic portraits created based on secrets received anonymously via e-mail from all over the country. JD Beltran finds subjects by posting a call for responses on multiple websites, stating, "I believe many of us walk around our entire lives with a secret we will never tell anyone, but that nevertheless defines us in some way. I want to do an anonymous portrait of you, based on your secret. Please write me back at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your secret, as well as as much or little information about yourself as you wish to reveal." Beltran never meets the subjects, but corresponds strictly by e-mail.
After receiving hundreds of secrets, she selected certain ones and, in a blind collaboration, set the words of the respondents to moving images.
The continuing body of Secrets is shown as a single channel video, in various site-specific installations, and as photographic stills in a separate body of work. In August, 2006, as part of the Zero1 Biennial, they were installed in the San Jose Museum of Art cafe as an interactive installation. Tiny LCD monitors were hidden under salt and pepper shakers in the cafe tables and under coasters in the drink bar, so cafe and bar patrons could discover them while using the cafe. In November 2008, they again were installed in cafe tables as part of the “Girls On Film” exhibition at the Garage Biennale in San Francisco.