It’s a commonly known thing that you don’t have to go very far on the Internet to find evidence of our fatigue with love. Swiping. Ghosting. Sexting. Catfishing. It’s pretty exhausting stuff.
But now, launching just in time for Valentine’s Day, Swedish artist Arvida Byström has teamed up with Polaroid Originals for Love in the Digital Age, a photo series which touches upon some of our reservations while vividly exploring what love looks like in the digital age.
Romance, human connection, modes of communication and everything in between inspire the vibrant, high-contrast shots, which see Byström in a series of self-portraits. She plays with life-size cardboard cut-outs of dating app swipe screens, flirtatious speech bubbles, peach emoji attachments, and is even pictured physically lit up by the screen of her phone.
“Polaroid Originals and I wanted to explore romance and dating, and online is obviously very integrated with that experience today,” explains Byström to Wonderland. “Many people find partners through apps, look at love interests through Instagram before chatting them up, or just creep into the DMs. We wanted to explore this theme and make it feel very physical – as the Polaroid photos are – and still tie in the digital presence.”
But before you think Black Mirror vibes, Byström stresses that the photo series was not created as a critique of tech interference in the dating world. In fact, she is the first to applaud it’s benefits when it comes to her own dating life, suitability to introverted personality types and wider forms of communication and opportunity.
“To me, it is great,” she insists. “I am not the kind of person to chat people up offline, I’m very reserved, unless you know me. But when I am dating, I am very fun and flirtatious and present. Online I meet people through dating apps and then I know they are possibly interested in dating, so that is a totally different story. Also, I am a queer woman, so for that dating apps are amazing too, letting all the woman and queer cuties out there know that I am interested.”