FMD Magazine

Introducing Amy Lombard by Donna

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AMY LOMBARD Cover Story

Quick! By a show of hands how many of you are on Instagram? Facebook? Twitter? Yep, thought so. Social media is a fact of life today, and while many have lamented the negative effects it has had on communication,( on social media, of course) and the building of community, photo journalist, Amy Lombard argues that it can and does have many positive effects as well.

Amy hails from Philly, but moved to the Big Apple in 2008 in order to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Fashion Institute of Technology, which she obtained in 2012. While she was working on her degree, Amy worked as an editor at Time focused mostly on Social Media and Technology.

In 2013, she found herself at a gathering of pug owners. She originally thought this will be a story about our connection to animals but then inspiration struck and Amy was fascinated with the idea that so many people were brought together by the net. People who would otherwise never have met were here, in a stranger's living room, in the Bronx and their little dogs too! On her website, Amy says she was a shy child whose interests, at the time, were not those of others her age. She credits chat rooms and such with helping her find her tribe, where she fits in, in this world. Social Media makes it easier for those with unusual or very specific hobbies to connect with like minded souls.

That led to her eventually publishing a book, Connected, in 2016,having received a VSCO Artist Initiative grant, that showcases the diverse groups that met off-line after originally making the connection on -line. Wikipedia defines “CommunityBuilding” as follows:

{CommunityBuilding is a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of Community among individuals within a regional area, (such as a neighbourhood) or with a common interest...

That definition is a bit too narrow for me and so I was naturally pleased and drawn to Amy's work. Just as the term, family has expanded, to become more inclusive, so too must the meaning community. Amy argues that while social media has grown and changed what we mean by community, it has not killed it.

FMD could be a case in point. Without social media my team mates and I would not have met over our shared passion for creative endeavours. Many of my team mates are across the pond or across the country from me, but like me they are trying to balance work, family, and self idealization into a meaningful life. Social media has allowed us to come together, share dreams, and work cooperatively towards mutual goals. Isn't that the meaning of community? Each of us contributes our talents and develops our gifts while benefiting from those of our peers.

But what about actual face time detractors ask? Amy, in prior interviews, has suggested that while we may make on-line connections due to a specific interest or goal, that over time we bond and our connection becomes more than that, deeper. Then too, my peers and I feel that social media allows more face time with those we love. So for me, I was drawn to Amy's work because it expanded my definition of community and helped me appreciate the uniqueness of others while, at the same time, emphasized our shared humanity.

A self professed workaholic, Amy's passion for what she does led to her being named one of PDN's 30 new and emerging photographers to watch in 2016. Her work has been featured in many publications including Time, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Wired.

I recently caught up with her, via social media, of course and asked her if she would share any upcoming projects with us. She informed that her work-in-progress is a huge undertaking on Square Dancing in America. Amy told me that though at one time this dance was such a cultural force that it drew thousands to a single dance it has been on the decline since the 80's. It will be a very comprehensive as Amy has been working on it for years. She states that while no one has seen it yet, she has been photographing square dances with unique themes such as pyjama and bears themed as well as a naked square dance and flash mob square dances. I for one can't wait to see these images knowing Amy's flair for bold, quirky, fun photographs that capture her human subjects at what they do best, being human. Amy has tentatively named the work, United Squares and may be finished with it sometime in the next year.

Till then, go Get a copy of her work, Connected, here. Flip through the more than 375 photographs and enjoy the smile you are sure to get. Then visit here at FMD Magazine and let us know what you think. We would love to connect with you!

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