LONER's Boston portrait project addressing change and building community.
Updated: Mar 17
Things Don’t Feel Like They Used To.
A Community Documentary by LONER Magazine.
Throughout life, and especially over the past 3 years during the pandemic, our communities have faced rapid and often chaotic changes. Despite these changes - worldwide pandemics, death, mass shutdowns, long periods of isolation, etc., we’ve been given very little space to come together and acknowledge that change as a larger community. As if we’re all expected to “get over” the losses we’ve felt.
Keep working. Keep buying. Keep it together and keep it to yourself.
So many of us are carrying burdens on our shoulders that we shouldn’t have to carry alone. Based in Boston, the LONER Magazine team facilitated the “Things Don’t Feel Like They Used To” series – a community driven public art project that makes space for these tough conversations.
Participants were asked to answer one of two questions:
What makes a human life so special?
What doesn’t feel like it used to?
The questions were intentionally meant to be vague, allowing participants to be flexible and give answers that truly meant something to them as individuals.
The first round of the project was run on February 18th, where LONER Magazine was given space to host a community project by our friends at Found, a Massachusetts-based vintage market, and The Cambridge Foundry, a public arts space that addresses the problems of financial and spatial inequalities affecting artists.
What we found was that the people living in our communities were ecstatic to be given the emotional space that we feel they are entitled to. We spoke to everyone from young people on the brink of graduating from middle school to world travelers with 75+ years of living under their belts. Not only did the participants enjoy sharing their stories with our small but dedicated team - what we really enjoyed was the look on their faces when we took their portraits.
This project was an awe inspiring opportunity to make the people in our community feel beautiful and heard. With the help of new organizational partners, we hope to be able to hold more public events like this one throughout 2023.
This project accompanies LONER Magazine’s 10th book (under the same name), releasing at the end of March 2023. Similar to the portrait series, this book features dozens of artists' stories, world-changing projects and change-inspired creative work.
All of the portrait series participants have also been published, in print, in Book 10.
Special thanks to:
Our photographer Philip Ledwith
The LONER Magazine Team; Alyjah Adams, Marcel Mensah and Maya Sherman
The friends of LONER that volunteered to help make the project happen.
All 50+ participants of the portrait project
Every LONER reader that purchased a copy of issue 10.