Facebook friends photo shoot, part 2/2

Facebook friends photo shoot, part 2/2

In part one, the concept and technical details of the Facebook friends photo shoot were covered. In today’s post we’ll look at the things learned about friends, photography, and – specifically – if Facebook has altered the definition of “friend.” Is the word now thrown about so freely that it’s losing meaning?

First off, let me say a big “thank you” to the great group of friends who responded to the call to be photographed. It’s extremely cool that you didn’t hesitate to help me out with this photo project. In addition to being awesome, there was another defining characteristic to the people that responded – they’re all distinctively artistic individuals. There were no accountants or lawyers in the group, but dancers, designers, and fellow photographers were well-represented.

As the shoots progressed it was interesting to think about how I’d come to know these particular friends. Some were current co-workers, while others I hadn’t seen in years. A few I knew mainly from group situations, so to spend one-on-one time with each of them was really cool. We talked about art history, Madagascar, water under the bridge, and life’s trials and rewards.

One friend admittedly hated to be photographed (and wouldn’t you know, her photos were beautiful) but she volunteered in order to show me a 2010 photo-a-day book of her family. She credited me with helping to inspire the project, which I took as an immense compliment.

The burning question

If I were asked five years ago, “how many friends do you have,” I’m not sure of my response. Though I’ve known scores of great people over a lifetime, the answer would probably have been something like, “hmmm…maybe…thirty?”

But now, on Facebook, I count over ten times that many people as friends. Why the disparity? I hoped this project would provide some insight…and it did.

To be honest, I had fears that Facebook was devaluing the word “friend.” But I found out that, for me, quite the opposite was true. Though it was easy to click a button and call someone a friend, those clicks haven’t been made without thought.

Unless you’re just trolling to build your friend count (which I guess some people do), you don’t become friends with someone on Facebook just by accident. There’s some tie, somewhere, that binds you together. It may be small or it may be large – a time in your life, a common interest (I know a lot of photographers), or a mutual friend – but there’s something there that can be built upon. And that’s exactly what my friends and I did over the two days of this photo shoot:

We remembered the ties that bind us.
We built upon our relationships.
And Facebook and photography made it all possible.

Which, really, was the coolest possible outcome. Now if only there were time to photograph all of my other friends, too…

- Jim T.