What Can Pictures Of Self-Absorbed People With Laptops Tell Us About Our Modern World?

Today in art:

On paper, it sounds like one of the worst ideas for a photo project: Portraits of bloggers? At their computers? But Gabriela Herman’s photos of exactly that are surprisingly thoughtful, deep and compelling. They bring out the hidden drama in an extremely passive-looking activity.

Herman’s Bloggers sheds light –- usually the glow of the laptop screen -– to the previously invisible rise of dormitory pundits. She shows us not only the physical spaces where blogging takes place and the people behind the blogs, but also the human connections made over those apartment wi-fi connections.

Hmmm! (You should note that the photo above is by Red Mum, from Flickr, and not a part of this project.) Intrigued by this concept — and not having been invited to participate in any rate — I decided to make my own portrait to see what it revealed about me and my life.

Well, clearly you can see the darkness of my soul, and how the bright light of the laptop over my shoulder — sitting there like some kind of metaphorical devil — represents the failure of the worldwide web, with all its promises of connection, to provide any source of illumination in my existential struggles. In addition, the bit-mappy nature of the portrait is emblematic of my growing absorption by technology; I am, if you will, slowly turning into a series of 0s and 1s. (I mean, except for on the scale, which, let’s not talk about.) But I think it’s the fingers that say the most: As much as one puts of oneself on a blog, there are always those dissimulating digits, there to put paid to the perception that you can ever really know someone from their Internet persona. Also, I really need a new camera, this one pretty much blows.