I have always held a fascination with letter writing. Now that email, text message, FaceTime, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger are all at our fingertips, what role does physical mail play? I chose three long distance relationships that flourished via letters and sought to tell each story. Though a dying medium, for these relationships, letter writing resulted in miles connected.
1 – Mary (New York, NY) & Ryan (San Diego, CA): “Letters take more time. They’re more intentional. You have to compose them, create them, mail them. You get to see how the person thinks and acts, the effort they put into making a beautiful object. You can see their ‘hand’ so to speak, as the artist and writer…A letter is super tacticle. You’re holding the paper they held, seeing the spots where they messed up and scribbled out something or where they bold or underline or scale up and down for emphasis.”
2 – Amanda (New York, NY) & Maddie (Los Angeles, CA): “There’s something extra special about receiving a physical gift in the mail. It means so much in a friendship to say “I saw this. I thought of you. And I want you to have it.” Each postcard, each letter, each doodle is hand-selected and acts as a snapshot for just that moment. It then travels for miles and miles, arriving days later in a completely different time frame. All because someone wanted to share something with you.”
3 – Willis (New York, NY) & Lucy (Nashville, TN): “We started our relationship from the beginning with a letter where I asked her to consider dating…The letter was the appropriate balance between physical presence and respectful distance. If I flew to Nashville that’d be way too much pressure for her to respond to for a recent friend like me. But tech mediums like email and video chat may not give the request the “weight” it deserved.”
Beatrice – What a creative way to portray another medium of art. We definitely forget about the intimacy of letter writing in this day and age! I really like your use of polaroids here. Photo 3 is my favorite – it’s a very sweet and personal way to portray a couple through their letters to one another. I think photo 1 does the weakest job in conveying your theme. Without any context, I don’t think I could tell photo 1 was relevant to letter writing, though I do like its aesthetics!
Stephen – My favourite in terms of execution and history is number 3. I think you have really captured the emotional reasoning behind writing to new and old friends from across the world. The background is well imagined, and using the letters to frame their relationship keeps to the simplicity of the story. I can really read in to this picture. Photos 1 and 2 are both so different, and you have composed the pictures in such a way that really does highlight their story. Photo 2 is a bit bright for me, I am distracted by the backdrop and my focus is lost – it is the weakest shot for me. I am a big fan of the polaroids here, and how youy have kept the angles of each pair (intentionally?) the same – it brings the three photos in line with one another. The dying medium of letter writing and use of film tie hand in hand – and it is a well broiught together concept. You will, indeed, be receiving something in the mail in the next week.