Dale Rio

Photographer
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... MORE
Public Story
One Nation, Oblivious
Copyright Dale Rio 2023
Updated Aug 2015
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.   
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One Nation, Oblivious by Dale Rio
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