Let’s Meet In Real Life
I’ve been meeting with strangers I encounter on Instagram. They are generally young people who use the platform as a mode of expression or ‘performance.’ I direct message them to ask if they will meet with me for a coffee and if they will participate in the project. If this works out then I ask them if I can take their portrait in a photographic studio with a medium format camera.
In my work I am examining the balance between a real life connection with a person and the online ‘persona’, trying to work out as a photographer what capturing your subject really means. Looking back at my diary entries which document the process of meeting with each stranger for the first time, I realise how ‘strange’ it all seems. Social media psychologist Pamela Rutledge explains that ‘in our brains, when someone looks into a camera, they are effectively looking us in the eye and our brains respond with a social trigger’. Using film-based photography inserts a pause into the instantaneous culture of image exchange online because with film, you can’t see an instant result and this makes you slow down and think more about what your relationship with your subject is or can be.