An evocative photo series is highlighting the feeling of loneliness in big city dwellers.
“Loneliness” by Luc Kordas includes candid photos of individuals out and about in New York City. Kordas told HuffPost this project came to be after a fellow street photographer reviewing his portfolio pointed out that his work features “a lot of lonely looking people” and suggested it could be a series.
“I think the idea of making a series on loneliness resonated with me so much because I had been hearing about it and witnessing it as a New Yorker ever since I moved here. It seems to be this huge city’s leitmotif,” the photographer said.
“Loneliness can have different shapes and colors; it doesn’t mean you’re spending most of your time alone in your room. You could be out partying or living a very busy lifestyle studying or working and still feel lonely. It goes deeper than physical solitude,” he added.
Kordas emphasized that “Loneliness” is not a documentary project about specific people who are lonely in New York City but rather an artistic take on the theme of loneliness, using individuals who caught his eye on the street.
“I am well aware that solitude and loneliness are two different things. Those people don’t necessarily actually have to be lonely in real life, but they could be,” he said, adding that the subjects he photographed did look and feel lonely to him, however.
Generally, Kordas’ street photography focuses on the quiet, emotion-filled moments that take place in the midst of bustling streets, rather than large scenes of New York. He wants a single photo to serve as a short story or film.
In the case of “Loneliness,” the goal was to show that “you can feel lonely even if you’re one of eight million people living in a city like New York,” Kordas said.
“Indeed, perhaps counterintuitively, it is a well-known fact that inhabitants of a big metropolis suffer from loneliness much more often than people living in smaller towns,” he added. “I think a lot of New Yorkers look at this series thinking: This is me.”
In many ways, the Big Apple is the quintessential metropolis.
“New York attracts many people for many different reasons. Many of them leave their social lives, families and friends behind to chase their dream, whatever it is,” said Kordas. “You could almost say that, like fame, New York lures with a mirage of opportunity and success, but it comes with a price.”
For many people, the sense of loneliness comes with feelings of otherness as well.
“I personally know a few immigrants who have lived here for decades and still feel out of place, some of them even plan to go back to their countries after retirement,” the photographer added. “They never felt at home here even after living here for 30 years. Their tragedy is that they won’t feel at home wherever they come from either, because, meanwhile, things have changed over there too.”