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Tanja Alexia Hollander's Are You Really My Friend? Facebook photo project in progress
Tanja Alexia Hollander’s “Are You Really My Friend?” Facebook photo project in progress

ARTIST BEFRIENDS HER FACEBOOK FRIENDS

Dec. 22, 2011

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How many of your hundreds of Facebook friends do you actually know? Maine-based landscape photographer Tanja Alexia Hollander has 600 friends and is determined to meet them all. For an upcoming exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art, “Are You Really My Friend? The Social Media Portrait Project,” Jan. 4-June 17, 2012, Hollander has set out on a global mission to visit, in person, all of her Facebook friends and take their photographs.

Since January of this year, she has been stopping by each of her “friends’” houses to take portraits that are unmediated by computer screens and the filters of self-presentation. According to Hollander, “Though we are in the initial stages of understanding the affects of social networking on American culture and photography, there is a pervasive feeling that it is changing our interactions with each other and building a false sense of community.”

Aside from the exhibition of portraits, Hollander says the project involves lots of audience participation and feedback, naturally. Not all of the photos will be displayed at once, for instance, and observers are invited to help select images and comment on their quality. Perplexingly, they are also welcome, she notes, to “critique the management of her Facebook page.”

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