It’s a Match!: @now.a.magpie’s Netflix and Chill

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This playful photobook explores freedom, anonymity, and sexuality in an age of virtual dating

“Hey, how’s it going?” Asks Daniel. Daniel is one in a sea of tinder profiles, each one messaging the fictional Sarah. Screenshots of one-sided Tinder conversations, profile pictures, and self-deleting images are all regular occurrences in Sarah’s phone. Men expose themselves, ask for sexual favours, and without permission, send her countless images, pick-up lines, desires, and dreams. 

“When exploring Tinder, I was struck by the differences between how men often behave compared to women,” explains @now.a.magpie., the mind behind Netflix and Chill, published by Setanta Books. “Before the project came about I had long explored the relationship between new technology, photography and the liberation of expression that comes with moving from the real world to the virtual. In particular how this transition impacts civility and permits people to express and explore elements of their personality that would otherwise remain hidden.”

Pocket-sized and almost fully composed of screenshots, Netflix and Chill feels more like a social experiment than a classic photobook. The evidence of men’s interactions with ‘Sarah’ are its main feature a compilation of the types of behaviour exhibited when people can hide behind a mask of anonymity. 

The intersection of photography, dating culture, and technology runs through modern culture. Netflix and Chill explore this phenomenon, recontextualising it from the virtual realm to book format. And this emphasises the surreal, and often absurd, nature of digital social interaction.

Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.