Three years ago, photographer Amy Lombard attended a pug pool party on Staten Island. She left the borough with an interest in how people use the internet to connect with others with similar interests, and then to meet up with them in real life. The idea contrasted with Lombard's teenage years, when she used a LiveJournal but never socialized with her internet friends in person because society considered the practice taboo. Thanks to a grant from VSCO's Artist Initiative, Lombard has documented different internet meet-ups: gatherings of gingers, stay-at-home dads, and other subcultures. She's collected her photos in a new book called Connected.
"I think that when you see the communities represented in the book, it shows that community has evolved," Lombard says. "The work documents a clear societal shift. We no longer have to feel alienated with our interests. There are so many platforms to connect with people that being alone is practically a choice. As much as the Internet breeds bullying, it also offers us a safe space to meet and connect with like-minded people."
Below are some of our favorite photos of Harry Potter, asexual, and, of course, dog meet-ups.