Lonely and bored I sit in my bedroom searching various Internet sites for someone to talk to, interact with, keep me occupied until I'm tired enough to sleep. I often contemplate why on a Friday night, or any night, I find myself in this state. After reading the online journals of those I feel as if I know in person, I decide to revamp my profile on Myspace and Friendster. Perhaps the information I publish about myself will attract others or reinventing myself will once again spark the interest in some former online relationship that has become stagnant, quenching my thirst for social interaction.
I am not alone, there are a growing number of social networking websites filling this need. These sites offer the illusion of companionship but are much more convenient, lacking the demands of friendship. Through the Internet people are transforming and constructing a new form of personal identity; a visual form but in a virtual reality that is completely artificial.
My concern is the way modern technologies are changing the way we interact socially. At what point does the information distributed on the Internet take the place of face-to-face human interaction? How much personal information are users of these sites publishing on these public forums? Does this information translate into an accurate representation of the user? My work deals with the changing forms of social interaction and how these websites have become modern day carte de visites.
This project consists of the Internet profiles of people I have met on these various social networking sites juxtaposed with my simple objective portraits of each individual. Attempting to achieve the most objective and representative portrait possible, I create a studio environment that is constant for each person only exposing one sheet of 4x5in. film and I avoid looking at my subjects at the time of exposure. By presenting these portraits alongside elements from that individual's Internet profile, I want viewers to question the true personality of the subject and to question the nature of identity in this electronic age.
"We construct our technologies, and our technologies construct us and our times. Our times make us, we make our machines, our machines make our times. We become the objects we look upon, but they become what we make of them. The distance between people and machines has become harder to maintain--to what extent are we mixtures of biology, technology, and code?"-Life On Screen, Shelly Turkle.
"Your photographs are still mirrors of yourself. Your images are raw, the emotions naked. They are 'expressive' meaning a direct mirror of yourself rather than 'creative' meaning so converted as to affect others as mirrors of themselves"- Minor White*