2019 - Ongoing
New York, United States; New York City, New York, United States
Home is a very personal space for many individuals, but there is a group of people who are very courageous to invite strangers into their spaces. And their stories, life perspectives, and experiences fascinate me.
In this environmental portrait series, Couchsurfing Hosts, I visited a group of people in New York City and the surrounding vicinity who open up their homes to travelers in exchange for the opportunity to learn and share cultures. I went from house to house carrying my DSLR with one speed light and a diffuser to talk with them, surf in some of their homes, and create portraits with them. Couchsurfing is a homestay and social network community that connects members to find a free place to stay while traveling (surfer) or to share their home with travelers (host). I first became aware of this community in 2009, but I had never hosted or been hosted before embarking on this project. It is a fascinating community that allows people to make connections, particularly those who enjoy traveling and learning about different cultures.
As I work on this project, I am thinking about how, in a world where social media has a large influence on our lives, this network helps bring people from all over the world closer together. Is the planet becoming smaller at the expense of the city becoming larger?