As my senior year independent art project at Carleton College in 2019, I photographed thirty-six people as they each answered a different question about themselves. The questions come from a psychological study in which the organizers attempted to generate closeness, or love, between two strangers by having them answer a set of thirty-six specific questions together. Some questions I’m asking are different than the questions from the study, such as numbers twenty-five and thirty-one. The questions from the study are meant to be answered in pairs, and some questions are written so that both partners answer together. Because I was not anyone’s “partner” but rather the photographer, I modified certain questions so that they were directed only towards one person but still in line with those from the study.

In this unique photo book, a reader will see the participants’ motions and emotions that they expressed during the interview in the portraits, and they will also be able to read the participants’ answers to each question. My hope is that reading this book can generate a sort of closeness between the readers and the anonymous-looking strangers included inside it.

Question 1 – “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?”
Some of the images that became the composite image, Question 1. Each photograph pictured above is a 20 second long exposure. I stopped making exposures once the model finished answering the question.
Question 2 – “Would you like to be famous? In what way?”

Question 24 – How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
Question 32 – What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
Left to right: small zines containing information about the 36 questions and the psychological study. Closeness Generator, ordered from blurb.com – it contains all the same information as the hand-bound copy, just on different paper. Closeness Generator, the hand-bound version, with cotton cloves. Each spread of the book shows the portrait on the left side, and the transcription of their response to their assigned question on the right. Preview the book on blurb.com here.

Installation of “Closeness Generator” in the Perlman Teaching Museum at Carleton College in the spring of 2019 for the Senior Art Show, In Stride. (Click images to enlarge.)