On New Year’s Eve, 2010, Maine-based photographer Tanja Hollander sat in her apartment, handwriting a letter to a friend deployed in Afghanistan; instant-messaging a friend in Jakarta; and perusing the status updates of her 636 Facebook friends. It made her think about friendship and intimacy in the digital age. Could her connections to these people, some of whom she’d never met in person or hadn’t seen for years, be photographed? And how would the nature of their friendship change once she ventured into their homes, trading Facebook for face time?
For last three years, Hollander has been answering those questions, culminating in her project called Are You Really My Friend. Hollander’s mission is to photograph all her Facebook friends in their own homes, all around the world, to figure out what friendship means in the age of social media. She now has 1304 Facebook friends, 375 of whom she’s photographed in 43 states, 150 cities, and six countries. Their homes range from high-modern to tricked-out delivery truck.