© Ira Lupu

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Ira Lupu


Artist Statement

“On Dreams and Screens” investigates how intimate and real you can get through a web camera, and what emotional patterns are likely to be formed after hours spent in the online fantasy machine. Ultimately, I seek to understand the paradoxical relationship of intimacy and distance, connection and disconnection, in a world newly transformed.

Online webcam models, or cam girls, turn out to be experts in the field of screen-based human bonding – their livelihood depends on it. They have long struggled how to communicate from one side of the screen to the other: something we just started familiarizing ourselves with in times of social distancing and remote work. What have they learned? Who are they? What do they have to teach us?

I focused on a group of Ukrainian girls with camming experience. I photographed them in moments of self-contemplation – in the places of their childhood, favorite nature spots, or at home. One of the intentions in reaching the emotional, and sometimes subconscious depth of my subjects (who, against all the journalistic standards, became my dear friends) was breaking a "sex worker" stigma and humanizing a figure of an Easter European female.

"The problem becomes increasingly complex in techno-culture, where people find themselves in virtual theaters alien to everyday life but which have a tremendous impact on it." — quote from “Recombinant Theatre and Digital Resistance” by Critical Art Ensemble, 2000.

© Ira Lupu

Ira Lupu's Portfolio

© Ira Lupu

Artist Biography

Ira Lupu is a photographer, writer, and multimedia artist born in Odesa, Ukraine. She is a graduate of the New Media Narratives program at the International Center of Photography, New York.

Ira’s work explores the intersection of documentary and metaphorical space, and spans projects on the youth of Kazakhstan, Donbas war veterans who committed suicide, and avant-garde artists of North America. An important part of her work is centered around global women’s issues, including “Model at Home”, a long-term photo project on a fashion model living in a town with the highest crime rates in Ukraine, and “On Dreams and Screens”, an extensive transmedia project on webcam models and the psychological aspects of remote communication in Ukraine and the US.

Ira has photographed, written, and tailored projects for media outlets worldwide, including Vogue, Dazed, Vice, InStyle, DIS, Calvert Journal, Folha de S.Paulo, and museums like Dallas Contemporary. She is a participant of Eddie Adams XXXIII, Fotofestiwal Łódź workshop, and part of Women Photograph Chapter Kyiv. She has received grants and awards from Women Photograph, Tbilisi Photo Festival, Prince Claus Fund, Shevchenko Scientific Society, and Prada Journal.



© Ira Lupu

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