Shooting long-distance family portraits via Skype

A Singaporean visual artist based in New York uses projected Skype video and creative photography to virtually reunite families -- like his own -- who are separated by distance.

Thanks to some tech wizardry, N.Y. photographer John Clang is able to pose with his younger brother, Joe Ang, who lives in Singapore. John Clang

John Clang lives in New York, thousands of miles from his Singaporean family. But that hasn't stopped him from posing in family portraits. He hasn't even needed a plane ticket.

Using a Webcam, the photographer and visual artist made live recordings of his family, transmitted them via Skype, and projected them onto a wall of his New York apartment. He then jumped into the frame, and his wife, Elin Tew, photographed him next to his telepresent family for a modern take on the traditional family portrait.

After trying his new long-distance portraiture method on his own family, Clang traveled from New York to Paris, London, Hong Kong, and other locales to create long-distance portraits of similarly scattered families. "Being Together," the resulting series, "documents and examines our condition of new-wave diaspora -- Singaporean families of various races and ethnicities grappling with the same predicament of separation through time and space," Clang says in an artist's statement.

Clang -- a successful commercial photographer who has shot for clients including AT&T, Boost Mobile, IBM, eBay, and Nokia -- often focuses his personal work on family-related themes such as memory, identity, and the longing of a son living overseas. The complete "Being Together" series of 40 images will be exhibited at Clang's solo show at the National Museum of Singapore in early 2013.

 

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