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Long Distance Family Portraits via Skype

June 25, 2012 | William Zimmerman
Family Portrait via Skype.jpg
Futuristic Family Reunions

Be Here Now

By Julie Bosman, The New York Times Magazine via ISPR

June 1, 2012

In Singapore, it is a common practice for entire families to gather on special occasions for a formal picture, often at a studio, with the resulting image framed and prominently displayed at home. The growing tendency of younger family members to take jobs abroad, however, has left many modern portraits missing a relation or two. So the Singaporean photographer John Clang devised a solution, piggybacking on the video-calling technology that already helps ease the dislocation of separated family members: Skype. Clang, who is based in New York, tried this with his own family first, then used the Internet, embassies and recommendations from friends to track down other Singaporean families with members there and in far-flung places. Those in Singapore stood before their webcam-enabled computers and called their distant relatives on Skype. In these various locations, Clang projected the Skype image onto a wall and then photographed the callers together with their flesh-and- blood kin.

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