Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Project

This is how the conversation always starts when I have to talk about my newest photo project:

"There's this website..."

And then someone asks who these people are. And I say, "Well, I 'know' these people... from the Internet."

Which is sort of true. I do know these people. But not as friends. They're e-acquaintances. Some more than others. And that's kind of the point of the project.

The website in question is an Internet forum I discovered years ago as an undergrad. The original incarnation of the website centered on music discussion and tape trading in the days before FTP and widespread mp3 files.

The latest incarnation of the site is more general in nature. Topics of discussion still include music, but politics, television, pop culture, video games, and food are also more prominent in the mix.

This project will consist of portraits of posters from this website. With the help of a generous stipend from Eastern Oregon's Faculty Scholars program, I will travel the country this summer photographing my fellow Internet posters. The idea is to uncover the "real" person behind the Internet persona, though anonymity still overrides each image since most viewers will have no idea at whom they're looking.

With widespread digital interaction taking place every day, from Facebook to MySpace to Twitter to Internet message boards to online education, personalities are becoming more and more niched and fictional.

In the past, my work focused on fictional personalities that I had constructed and created to seem real. Now my work shifts focus to real people and their self-made fictional personalities. And with the added barrier of the portrait - which can be as fictional as a user's Internet identity - these subjects might just take on an even larger fictional role.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Photo Everywhere

The C-41 train keeps rolling, as another roll of 120 film came out successful. An image from the dentist's office is picture at left.

Last weekend was the SPE National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference is always a great way to catch up with friends, see some great work, experience a new city, and take in some amazing presentations by nationally notable photographers.

SPE presentations included Brian Ulrich, Kelli Connell, Abe Morell, and Bea Nettles. There are too many other people to make mention of, but a great time was assumedly had by all.

This weekend marks the beginning of my latest project. I'll be traveling to Seattle and meeting with some people for portraits. The new group of images will address public/private/online personas, as well as what it means to interact with people you've never met. This link has something to do with the project, but is really just posted here for fun.