Have you ever stopped to think about what our constant need to share everything online says about us? Why do we throw images of our lattes, our pets, our faces, our homes, and our loved ones into the void, and what do we expect to get in return? As we sit behind our screens for hours a day, we often forget that life is still happening around us. Time isn’t waiting for us to put down the phone.
Antoine Geiger, a 20-year-old photographer who has achieved success and acclaim beyond his years, decided to step behind his lens to take aim at the screens that control us. The end result is an evocative series called SUR-FAKE, and it asks us to think long and hard about what exactly technology has stolen from us.
Geiger sees the screen as “an object of mass subculture, alienating the relation to our own body, and more generally to the physical world.”
The collection urges us to think about how we construct our identities. In many ways, we create forced images of who we are on social media.
With the help of technology, we can easily create montages of life’s most pleasant moments, and show only the parts of ourselves that we want everyone else to see.
The world sees gorgeous selfies in front of famous landmarks, lovely cups of coffee on cold autumn mornings, and adorable pets running along pristine shorelines. But what’s really going on here?
Everything about that sort of self-image is contrived, and in creating that image, we lose touch with what it means to experience life.
Geiger’s photography presents us with idea that we’re being ripped from our natural surroundings into a world that’s disturbingly less real.
And in that sense, we’re all guilty…at least to a degree. What are we missing out on? What do we lose in our real lives while we try to construct palatable versions of those lives for everyone else?
But the purpose of this series is not to place blame. Artists have always commented on the human experience, and this phenomenon just happens to be one of the most notable aspects about 21st-century life.
No one is telling you to drop your phone in the trash and completely forsake the life you lead online. In many ways, social media connects us to people we’d otherwise never know, which can be a really incredible experience. What this talented photographer has managed to capture is what happens when we let digital lives creep in and steal parts of our most precious experiences. It’s all a matter of balance.