This essay originally appeared in the Privacy & Perception Issue of Vice Magazine, created in collaboration with Broadly. You can read more stories from the issue here.
Larissa Zaidan just started taking photos two years ago, and since then, she has mainly focused on her own generation. A native of Brazil, she has always been attracted to her country’s young people—posing them, shooting them on the street—but she realized, in time, that she was only capturing a fraction of them and their humanity. Her new series, “Your Universe,” is an attempt to amend what she thought she had been missing: the ways in which they portray themselves on social media.
“The intimacy I captured myself,” she says, “was different than the intimacy they wanted to show to their friends online.”
Zaidan’s project takes portraits she composed of men and women and puts them side by side with pictures from their respective Instagram accounts. In one photo, for instance, she positions a man silhouetted in an alleyway, juxtaposed with his own selfie, of him lying down kissing his girlfriend; in another, she captures a woman looking into a bathroom mirror and putting on lipstick, next to the subject’s own image, of her as a child in a bathing suit and swimming cap.
What Zaidan found, ultimately, was that most people seem to share their most fragile selves on the internet.
“It’s beautiful,” she says. “It’s an almost naïve way to be young—to love too much, to want others to like you.”