Dale Rio

One Nation, Oblivious
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Nationality: American
Biography: I am a photographer who has been shooting and printing my own work for nearly thirty years.  I received an MFA in photography from Pratt Institiute in 1996 and a Fulbright Travel Grant and the Miguel Vinciguerra Grant in 1997.  Since... read on
Public Story
One Nation, Oblivious
Credits: dale rio
Updated: 08/28/15
A few years ago, I was struck by the number of people who nearly walked into me because they were so preoccupied with their cell phones.  That experience sparked this mini-project, where I shoot the oblivious with my Holga.  It's a departure from my normal way of working, since I don't do a lot of street photography, and I'm usually very specific about composition.  With this body of work, I have to let go of a certain degree of control and attachment to preconceived ideas of the final image, because I shoot fast, and you never know what you're going to get with a Holga!
I have, however, created some "rules" for myself while shooting.  For instance, I avoid shooting anyone who appears to simply be listening to music on their iPhone.  I also try to gauge the subject's awareness of his or her surroundings before I photograph him or her; if someone is quickly checking some information on their screen, they don't fall into my requirement of "oblivion," so I don't photograph them.  I try to watch their behavior as they walk toward me and assess if they're really engrossed to the point where they're truly oblivious to what's happening around them.
I feel that this obsessive relationship with technology - and lack of connection with the reality that surrounds us - is endemic in our society, and it will ultimately have a negative effect on the development of the individual and society at large.  How that manifests in the long-term remains to be seen.   

By Dale Rio —


The Black Mambas APU

By Dale Rio — In November, I traveled to South Africa to create portraits of members of the Black Mambas all-female..


By Dale Rio — These images represent my experiments with pinhole photography.  Some are part of a "Work-a-day..

In Absentia

By Dale Rio — This body of work features places that once buzzed with life but are now devoid of humanity.  Places..

Maasai Olympics

By Dale Rio — In December 2018, I traveled to Kenya to create portraits of the participants in the 4th biennial Maasai..

Terry Collection

By Dale Rio — The Terry Collection is a world-renowned forensic anthropology collection housed at the Smithsonian..

Forgotten 66

By Dale Rio — Historic Route 66 exemplifies the interconnectedness of history, emotion, and humanity‚Äôs complicated..

Band Archive

By Dale Rio — From the 1990s through the early 2000s, I photographed a lot of bands in New York and elsewhere.  I was..

Mt. Moriah Cemetery

By Dale Rio — Mt. Moriah is a cemetery in Philadelphia that was created in the 1800s as an alternative to the crowded and..


By Dale Rio — This portfolio contains portraits that I've made over the past fifteen years or so.  The photos..


By Dale Rio — Superfund sites are those deemed contaminated or polluted by the Environmental Protection Agency, which then..

The Borscht Belt

By Dale Rio — I have always been fascinated by abandoned places, particularly those that were of great importance in their..
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