"Far Away, So Close" By Joe Pugliese
Joe Pugliese’s latest personal project evolved, like many of them do, out of a need to fill a gap between shoots. Far Away, So Close captures Pugliese’s friends from a safe distance in a series of black and white portraits. It also touches upon the universal changes we are all experiencing in the way we live. For him, it “doesn’t feel good to not take pictures” and focusing on a new project was important to establishing a new rhythm.
Pugliese also chose his particular focus because he felt much of the work on social media was devoid of humans, featuring empty streets, etc. He wanted to create work that he felt was missing from the larger conversation. By focusing on human connection he aimed to quell his own, and hopefully others, anxiety.
Those featured in the shoot were attracted to the sheer novelty of the concept and open to getting a bit of fresh air. The organic nature of the final shots result from the fact that Pugliese couldn’t get up close to direct. His current methods of working weren’t always viable for a shoot of this type and it pushed him to adapt. Challenges included shooting with a sport lens, to capture images from a distance, that not only magnifies the subjects but also vibrations.
After shooting, Pugliese waited about a week before sharing on social media because he didn’t want his work to encourage others to go outside. However, upon sharing he was overwhelmed by the response of those inspired and uplifted by his work. People loved the work for the same reason he needed to shoot it — the undeniable humaneness of the images at a time when much of visual culture was taking people out of imagery.