I am a little obsessed with YouTube.
I have always been a bit of a voyeur. In this era of the Internet, “facebook-stalking” someone is an acceptable way to get to know someone surreptitiously.
Despite all that, it is still a little weird to admit my obsession, since the people making videos and baring parts of their lives to the world almost daily on YouTube are not even technically “famous.” Back in the day, girls had crushes on the members of N*Sync and Uncle Whats-his-name from Full House. On YouTube, I obsessively follow a bearded guy who lives in Chicago and makes videos of himself and his “clones” having adventures in and around his apartment. He has a couple thousand subscribers, but I am willing to bet that most people still have not heard of WheezyWaiter (or Craig Benzine, which is his non-internet name).
I am fascinated by the character WheezyWaiter, which is a little silly (he fights an animation of an eagle and reads the news by making words explode), but am almost more fascinated by those little flashes of Craig Benzine I can sometimes see shining through. Occasionally he will post bloopers where he drops character and cracks up at something, or reacts to noises outside the apartment that renders that particular footage unusable. That glimpse into the life of someone else, into the living space and “true” identity of that person, is irresistible to me.
My most current work deals with these little flashes into the lives of Internet celebrities (or even just people I find making videos on the internet that are not quite internet-famous yet). When I find that crack in the internet-persona, the insight into the “real” person behind the video, I take a screenshot. I think of these as film-stills, though clearly YouTube vloggers are not out to create cinema.
Where I will take this concept, I am not quite sure yet. With new internet celebrities cropping up every day (that "hide yo' wife, hide yo' kids" guy was on Comedy Central's Tosh.0 the other day), though, I will most certainly not run out of material.