Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The Familiar Stranger is a social phenomenon first noted by the psychologist Stanley Milgram in a 1972 essay addressing the subject.
Familiar Strangers are individuals that we regularly encounter but do not have any interaction with. By definition a Familiar Stranger (1) must be observed, (2) repeatedly, and (3) without any interaction. Milgram claimed that the relationship built with these Familiar Strangers is indeed a 'real' relationship. A relationship where both parties have silently agreed to mutually ignore each other, without any implications of hostility or anger. A great example is a person that you see every single morning on the way to work. You may see them from your car at the traffic light or as you walk into the door of the coffee shop you stop at. If for whatever reason one day that person isn't there, you notice.
Familiar Strangers form a bizarre bridge between people we know and the completely unknown strangers we glance once and never see again. While we are socially tied to the people we know by a society's give and takes, no such tie binds between us and complete strangers. Familiar Strangers fill in the area between these two diverse relationships.
Familiar Strangers, thought-provoking to us who carry cameras...maybe you should point yours at one today.
WLW guy. Lomo LC-A. Old Fujichrome 100, X-pro'd.
Do yourself a photo favor, order your copy of Lightleaks.
I'm sure you are asking yourself how in Hades did Tread get a PhotoBloggie for Best Writing on a Photoblog. Beer.
If you like toy cameras or if you don't--read my thoughts in the May issue of Photoblogs Magazine.
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