In 2022, TikTok was the world’s most-downloaded app, closely followed by Instagram and WhatsApp. On average, internet users spend around two and half hours each day on social networks – messaging, scrolling, uploading, liking and reposting. Summer Wagner (b. 1996), a photographer from the Rust Belt region of the midwestern USA, is interested in this phenomenon. Wagner’s “visual poems” are blue-toned shots in which figures are transfixed by smartphones. In one composition, four individuals appear to take a flash photograph of the viewer. Elsewhere, two young people sit on a riverbank, staring down at glowing screens. A couple embrace, looking at devices over their shoulders. Here, Wagner blends reality and fantasy to hold a mirror up to life online. “Alone, we project our egos into the ether – or onto Twitter,” Wagner writes. “Together those egos dance in an eclectic circus above our heads.”
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1. Overgrowth at the Abandoned Millwood Plant. Rockford Illinois, May 2022. Image courtesy Summer Wagner.
2. Blue Light @ 2am, June 2021. Image courtesy Summer Wagner.
3. Stars Full of Palm (2022). Image courtesy Summer Wagner.
4. Saturn. Image courtesy Summer Wagner.
5. Full Moon in Virgo (2022). Image courtesy Summer Wagner.
6. Prism of the Valley (2022). Image courtesy Summer Wagner.