This Photo Series Proves ‘Facebook Friends’ Actually Means Something Offline

While hand-writing a letter to a friend deployed in Afghanistan and simultaneously instant-messaging a friend in Indonesia, photographer, TanyaHollander was found wondering: Am I really friends with all the people I am connected to on Facebook? It’s a fairquestion, out of my 1,395 friends only a small fraction are true ride or diesshout out to the homies, you know who you are.According to Uproxx, onNew Years Eve 2010, Hollander began her 5-year-mission to not only photographbut spend valuable time with each of her 626 Facebook friends. Talk about a labor of love, I’m lucky if I find time to call my mom once a week, nevermind travel the world to see my social media acquaintances.

You can see more of this series and other work by Hollander here.

Courtesy of Tanja Hollander and MASS MoCA.
Courtesy of Tanja Hollander and MASS MoCA

12 countries, 34 states, and400 homeslater, Hollander’s dedication resulted in a breathtaking photo series she titled, “Are You Really My Friend?” The collection of IRL “profile pictures” Hollander createdbrings personality and authenticity to the faces sheconnects with on Facebook perfectly telling their story with each portrait.

Courtesy of Tanja Hollander and MASS MoCA.

After dedicating 5 years of her life to pursuing friendships, Hollander summed up her thoughts in just a few sentences. She told Uproxx:

I learned that people come in and out of your life at different times for different reasons. There is value in relationships that are fleeting and are ephemeral. I have friends that will go see music with me but wont go see art with me. That doesnt mean our friendships are less real. And as we get older and have kids and families and relationships, things will change and continue to change. That doesnt mean our friendships werent meaningful at the time.

Courtesy of Tanja Hollander and MASS MoCA.

And as for Facebook, Hollander believes that the social media monster hasn’t ruined the legitimacyof friendship. She told Uproxx:

There isnt a difference between online friendships and offline friendships. Its something that weaves in and out of everything we do, from work to friendship everything, literally. There are some people that I see in person more often than friends that exist only online, but that doesnt mean Im closer to the people I see every day. Social media is just a different way of communicating.

Courtesy of Tanja Hollander and MASS MoCA

You can see more of this series and other work by Hollander here.

Courtesy of Tanja Hollander and MASS MoCA