Peter Garritano’s ‘Seeking’ Series Puts Faces to Craigslist Platonic Personals Ads
Before the days of dating apps, there was the personals section on Craigslist. Since the early 2000s, people looking for romance, casual encounters or even platonic friendship have been able to browse Craigslist ads posted by others in their area with hopefully similar interests.
Although the Craigslist personals section has undergone some rebranding over the years, people seeking all types of relationship variations have found love, companionship, and community on the message boards. Individuals who venture onto Craigslist’s now-“strictly platonic” section, which is much more tamed than its predecessors, are likely driven by curiosity, loneliness or plain fancy.
One New York photographer, Peter Garritano, was fascinated by the impressively common feeling of solitude pulsing through one of the most populated cities on the planet during the most connected time of our species. Garritano frequents New York City’s strictly platonic section on Craigslist, sending messages to authors of posts that capture his attention and asking if they would participate in a photo shoot. Only a fraction of his hundreds of inquiries since February 2016 have received replies, and even less have agreed to be part of Seeking, Garritano’s ongoing photo project featuring images of Craigslisters juxtaposed beside their original posts.
While there are indeed some bizarre and extreme requests, most people are searching for a friend to take fishing or to talk fine art with. One man was looking for a “24 Hour Fitness workout bud.” Another wanted for someone to visit him in rehab. A grad school student was seeking out “any tourists in New York” to chat about different cultures over coffee.
Peering into the eyes of the individuals behind these blunt and brave posts expressing fears, insecurities, wishes and fantasies offers the unique opportunity for viewers to take a deeper look at human longing and desire and the various shapes and forms it might take.
“We already know everyone’s looking for love. I’m more concerned with our social requirements beyond romance,” Garritano told the The New Yorker. “I hope the project lessons the shame that people might feel from having this social need, this social void they’re trying to fill.”