Soraya Darabi, Foodspotting. “Solitude vivifies; isolation…
Soraya Darabi, Foodspotting.
“Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.”
—Abbé Joseph Roux, 19th-century priest and poet.
On paper, it sounds like one of the worst ideas for a photo project: Portraits of bloggers? At their computers? But Gabriela Herman
’s photos of exactly that are surprisingly thoughtful, deep and compelling. They bring out the hidden drama in an extremely passive-looking activity.
sheds light –- usually the glow of the laptop screen -– to the previously invisible rise of dormitory pundits. She shows us not only the physical spaces where blogging takes place and the people behind the blogs, but also the human connections made over those apartment wi-fi connections.
“I wanted to bring their intimate worlds to the outside public,” says Herman. “Ultimately though, Bloggers
is more about rethinking the way we experience the world, looking at how we live and spend our time.”
Ancient lore tells us of a time when blogs were the exclusive playground of nerds who hand-coded every page themselves in pure HTML. Now everyone from Fortune 500 companies to cats with cheezburgers have adopted blogs to shape the world with their commentary.
WordPress alone has more than 25 million accounts. Wired’s 2002 declaration of the blog’s arrival
now seems foolishly self-evident.
The blog’s big bang has led many to question whether communicating with a larger audience from a secluded room is more or less social than speaking with a vastly smaller network of people face-to-face. For her part, Herman disputes that technology has an isolating effect.
“I believe bloggers are connecting us, bringing us closer,” she says, “allowing for an interactive platform, a two-way dialogue that allows for both online and offline relationships to form.” For her, Herman says, blogs are a “comfort” and her “go-to source for information.”
Appropriately, Herman’s method for finding her subjects mimics the subject she’s documenting. Following each shoot, Herman asked the sitter to recommend someone on his or her blog roll as her next subject. The series of portraits began to mirror the tentative web links between the subjects and their online activity.
“In the beginning I ended up with a lot of photography bloggers, because those were the ones I knew and had access to,” says Herman. “Then through referrals I ended up meeting a lot of media bloggers.”
With thoughts leaning toward a future show, Herman is now reaching out to higher-profile bloggers and is focusing on individuals who make a living through blogging.