Instituto Tomie Ohtake has partnered Facebook to show a photographic series by Bob Wolfenson, who has been commissioned to develop Facebook’s More Together global campaign in Brazil. Of the eight pieces on display at Instituto Tomie Ohtake, two were produced especially for the exhibition and are on view for the first time. Although the large-format images bring to mind big-city billboards and visual stimuli, their showing in a gallery space allows viewers to abstract them from fast-paced everyday life. Wolfenson's photos gain added oomph from newly released videos that drill deeper into different narratives captured by his camera lens.
More together is Facebook’s first campaign. It showcases actual stories of people coming together, sharing common interests and content through its Groups feature, which has gained extreme relevance as a link connecting a wide range of profiles. The idea of "putting a face on” these Groups, or to be more precise, finding out what their members look like, was what led Wolfenson to shoot the series shown here
Like in much of the photographer’s work, the fictional content of these pieces corroborates the viewer’s comprehension of the elements that hold them together. Overall, the sort of mythology involving these characters transports the viewer to the locations Wolfenson carefully chose for his shoots. From scene setup to the carefully curated wardrobe, his pictures allude to a context that is a closer match to our imaginings of these groups than the actual photojournalistic photos and their real-life dictates.
Facebook’s commission also relates to photos for Nosoutros [Ourselves], a project that Wolfenson developed from 2012 to 2017 while traveling across several countries and cultures. His aim was to create panels to represent different human identities. The pictures he brought back from his journeys clearly evince the diversity of said cultures, ethnicities and origins while enabling viewers to round off the narrative of these individuals’ daily lives and customs.
Rather than just an overview showing how to promote groups in the digital realm, this exhibition also presents a deposition on personal involvement and the advocacy of togetherness. Ultimately, there is nothing more powerful than people’s ability to come together in all their plurality. More Together is a wager on happenstance and the power to take part in something much bigger.