Thursday, March 29, 2012

WCSH Channel 6 - 207 interview

Kathy Shannon and I talk real friendship and the collaborative aspects of the exhibit.  Watch the segment and you can share your thoughts on their Facebook page.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shout out from Artscope Magazine

From Artscope Magazine:

Tanja Alexia Hollander: Are You Really My Friend?
Taryn Plumb

Social media sites get a lot of criticism slung their way — sure, they connect people (virtually , at least), but can they really serve as a stand -in for the complex, face -to -face relationships that have defined humanity for thousands of years?

As she scanned through her list of 626 Facebook friends last New Year’s Eve, Tanja Alexia Hollander began to deeply consider this question. Who were these people, really? How did she know them? What did they mean to her? And could she truly classify them as “friends?”

To seek out the answers — or, at least, to edge closer to understanding the complexities and superficialities of friendship in the 21st century — the Auburn, Maine-based photographer didn’t just send out impersonal emails or post comments on walls. She literally sent the worlds of the real and the digital colliding into one another by making a plan to meet — and photograph — every one of her Facebook friends.

Read more

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shout out from Dispatch Magazine

Originally posted in Dispatch Magazine: 

Are You Really My Friend? The Facebook Portrait Project by Tanja Alexia Hollander

Monday, March 5, 2012

Boston Globe review

Boston Articles

A focus on faces, familiarity, and Facebook


February 26, 2012|By Mark Feeney

What could be more familiar than your friends? Except that Facebook, having turned the word into a verb, has made the concept so elastic as to lose meaning. This alteration provides the inspiration for 
 “Tanja Alexia Hollander: Are You Really My Friend?’’

Facebook is and isn’t about friendship. How many of your “friends’’ do you even know? More to the point, it’s definitely not about images. The face you choose to present to the Facebook world is a kind of social resume. It can include an image, or images, yes; but also name, employer, academic background, all that other stuff in your profile.

The original Facebook, the Harvard Freshman Register, was about images. It was like a high school yearbook with this crucial difference: It looked forward rather than backward. Not a few future power couples had their origin in one party scoping out the other’s picture in “the facebook.’’

What Hollander has done is use the facial aspect of Facebook friendship as her point of departure. Since January 2011, she’s been engaged in an ongoing project: to go to where her Facebook friends live and photograph them. That’s a lot of traveling. She has more than 600 friends.

The results are on display at the museum in two sections. One consists of a long horizontal strip of 61 portraits pinned to the wall - unframed, giving them a casual, immediate look. Around the corner, there are several dozen more photos. They have a magnetized backing, and viewers are encouraged to arrange them on the wall as they like. It’s interactivity of the old-fashioned, dimensional sort - literally hands-on.

The photographs are in color, shot indoors and in natural light. The interest they afford is more conceptual and sociological than visual, though that interest proves to be limited. While Facebook provides Hollander with an armature for her project, that project really doesn’t offer much in the way of commentary on or insight into social media. As for sociology, sameness limits its utility. The people appear comfortable, both socially and economically. A gathering of Walmart customers this isn’t.

Hollander’s sitters are in the 99 percent, all right, but the part that considers itself culturally and morally superior to the 1 percent. They may well be right in assuming so. For that matter, you and I (the sort of person who writes art reviews and the sort of person who reads them) are likely in this same social sub-stratum. But pretty soon the realization dawns that that means you’re looking into a lot more mirrors than windows. Facebook, Facebook, on the screen, who’s the fairest on the scene? The question answers itself, which is one reason Mark Zuckerberg’s so rich.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Shout out from Bangor Daily News

Originally posted on the Bangor Daily News

Auburn photographer gets a little help from her Facebook friends
Posted March 02, 2012, at 6:31 p.m.

Tanja Alexia Hollander
Alexandra Jaksons and Ezra Rogers in Brunswick in 2011.

PORTLAND, Maine — If you were to make a map of all your Facebook friends, what would it look like? How would you organize it? By location? Gender? Age? Closeness of relationship to you? And what is a friend? What does it mean today, when the word “friend” can as much mean someone you’ve known since kindergarten as a page on a website that belongs to someone you met once, or never?

Auburn photographer Tanja Alexia Hollander has lots of friends on her Facebook page — around 800, to be exact, from Maine to New Zealand — some of whom she knows intimately and others she knows only in passing. But as Facebook sees it, they’re all her friends, regardless of circumstance, and in that spirit Hollander has set out on an ambitious project: to photograph every single friend of hers on Facebook. This work in progress is being shown in an exhibition titled “Are You Really My Friend?” at the Portland Museum of Art, running through June 17.

“I know, it might seem like a crazy thing at first,” said Hollander, a Portland native and a co-founder of the Bakery Photo Collective in the former Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook. “But it brings up so many questions about friendship, and what social media and networking does to the idea of what makes someone a friend.”
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