The photographer's screenshots of Zoom chats with Lili Sumner, Lucien Smith, and more reveal the new frontier of friendship and intimacy
To try and list all of the changes that the world has gone through in the last few months is nigh on impossible. While precarity is not evenly distributed, our inherent sociality remains constant. Whether it’s the huge uptick in phone calls or the now-ubiquitous presence of Skype, Zoom, Webex, and other video calling services, how we communicate has gained different layers of meaning through this pandemic.
Photographer Sam Hellmann’s efforts to increase the intimacy of meeting up, calling in, or reaching out led her to emphasize connectivity through a short photo series. Featuring a variety of friends on Zoom, among them Lili Sumner, Lucien Smith, Sam Rock, and Simona Kust, Hellmann’s goal was to ask (and begin to answer) a few questions: How close can we be despite isolation? How far away are we from each other, really? With an eye towards how this will ultimately change how we communicate, Hellmann said, “Although we are behind a screen, we are more vulnerable than ever.” As we explore this newfound vulnerability, these photos reach to acknowledge our collective reckoning with our desire for closeness.