Watch this video that was sent to me from a listener! Very cool and definitely worth the watch! Thanks!
There really isn’t much to say about this project that wasn’t already captured in the video. What a cool idea. What better way to illicit a genuine reaction from a person, than take 2 strangers, with no forewarning, and shove them together in a photograph in which they have to “act natural?” This video explores several fields: personal space, natural connection, the effect of proximity, and the welcoming nature of humans in general.
The mere thought of an intimate photo with a complete stranger makes me uneasy. This video explores this intimacy through the unexpected invasion of personal space. Personal space is an interesting topic, because everyone’s threshold differs to some degree. Some people can’t stand the idea of being in close contact with a loved one, much less a random stranger. Some people can be inches away from a total stranger and feel as comfortable as ever. I, for one, would feel a little uneasy about holding a strangers hand. I don’t know this person at all, and I’m not the touchy feely kind in any case. I don’t go around passing out hand-holdings like they are flyers for a free concert. Holding hands is an invasion of personal space, and one that would certainly generate an evident response through the eyes of a camera.
Some people are just drawn to each other, plain and simple. It’s the same feeling one gets when talking to a person they’ve never met before, and after 5 minutes, it’s like the two have known each other for decades. This natural connection has no logical explanation, but it creates some of the most lasting memories that people can have. A 5 minute interaction with a stranger can change a person’s outlook on life for weeks. That feeling of a true connection to someone or something is evident in these images. The individuals that seem relaxed and completely at ease in the photos, exude a feeling that they are indeed connected, even if they have never spoken before.
It can be argued that, based on this project, proximity can make the heart grow fonder. The subjects in this experiment prove that in their interviews. They said they felt good after taking the pictures. They said it felt good to have that intimate experience, even if it was only for a fleeting moment. The bond that is forged in this encounter has to be based, to some degree, on the proximity of the subjects. The ones photographed together will likely remember their counterparts face forever.
Most attempts to capture genuine emotion, especially from “ordinary” pedestrians on the street, result in images that would most likely be found in an awkward family photo. (Side note: this is a great time to address family photos, and the misery that accompanies them. The picture-taker says “say cheese,” as if mouthing the word ‘cheese’ will make a smile seem not so forced, or depict a scene where the pungent odor coming from Uncle Randy isn’t making every other family member visibly uncomfortable. Everyone has the uncle that smells weird (referenced above), the aunt that wants 30 different poses and angles, and the ‘cousin that no one is really close to, but he shows up at every family function anyway’. This cast of characters will always make for an entertaining snapshot in the family scrapbook, but at the time of the photo shoot, the despair is palpable. Every family get together has the potential to be ruined by this one cataclysmic event, and if you grew up in a sizeable family, you know it to be 100% true. I apologize for the rant. Carry on… ) But even in this instance, the awkward photos have a natural feel to them. The pictures have the ability to capture that extreme tension that several of the participants felt, and the onlooker can feel the tension coming out of the image. They can also show an innate connection that some of the individuals had.