Photo a Friend Highlights | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios | Summary and Q&A

April 9, 2015
The Art Assignment
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Photo a Friend Highlights | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios


In celebration of Participant Appreciation Month, the host shares favorite responses to Tonya Hollander's art assignment, showcasing how friendship is explored through formal photographic portraits, both online and offline.

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Key Insights

  • ❓ Participant Appreciation Month celebrates the Art Assignment community and their contributions to the show.
  • 👔 The assignment on friendship through formal photographic portraits highlights the complexity of relationships, both online and offline.
  • 🤳 The definition of "friend" expands beyond traditional notions, with participants capturing the spirit of friendship through various subjects, including family members, pets, and even the self.
  • ❓ The importance of trust and vulnerability in posing for a friend's photograph is acknowledged and celebrated.
  • 😌 The power of photography lies in its ability to capture intimate moments and personalities, even for viewers who have no personal attachment to the subjects.
  • 💖 The ongoing book club selection, John Dewey's "Art As Experience," sparks thoughts on the relevance of art in contemporary society.
  • 💦 Highlights videos and social media shout-outs are planned to showcase participants' work further.


Hey, everybody. It's April, which I hereby declare Participant Appreciation Month. Hey, happy Participant Appreciation Month. [POP] Whoa! That was loud. This show exists because you guys make great art in response to these videos and also because you watch and comment on the videos and contribute to the Art Assignment community. Because we apprecia... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the significance of Tonya Hollander's ongoing series "Are You Really My Friend?" in relation to the art assignment?

Tonya Hollander's series explores the meaning of friendship in the age of the internet, and her art assignment encourages participants to delve deeper into this concept through formal photographic portraits of their friends.

Q: How did Meg Gilbert and Betty from Articulations showcase their friendship through the assignment?

Meg Gilbert and Betty, who became friends through the Art Assignment community, collaborated on the assignment. Betty took a formal portrait of Meg, demonstrating their distance and the thoughtfulness they put into the photograph.

Q: What did participants explore in terms of the definition of "friend" in their photographs?

Participants had the freedom to define "friend" in their own way, resulting in diverse portraits. Some showcased friends they see every day, while others highlighted individuals they met in different circumstances, such as a Ukrainian lady who survived the gulag.

Q: Why was the act of posing for a friend's photograph viewed as a generous act?

The act of posing for a friend's photograph goes beyond mere willingness; it involves vulnerability and trust. Participants recognized this generosity in their friends, appreciating the willingness to be viewed through their lens.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The host announces Participant Appreciation Month and highlights creative contributions from viewers in response to Tonya Hollander's art assignment on friendship in the digital age.

  • The assignment involved taking formal photographic portraits, with many participants capturing the essence of long-distance internet friendships.

  • Participants also showcased the importance of friends in their everyday lives, capturing family members, pets, and even themselves as subjects.

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