In the age of endless possibilities (thanks, internet!) - do small-towns really still exist? There is a new truth that’s emerging, or rather, has been erupting since the beginning of the digital age. It started on dial-up and pixelated chat-rooms, and has evolved into something far more human and at times; surreal. You can eat dinner with someone you’ve never met or listen to six-hours’ worth of someone whispering in Slovakian. Trust us, we love YouTube and the bottomless pit of unfiltered beauty that it offers.
For Issue 14, ‘The Dreamers’, we discussed this phenomenon with Connor Franta – one of the biggest poster-boys of the YouTube generation. Starting out from his bedroom in rural America, he has built a mega-brand from his own content and his own voice. That includes not one, but two New York Times bestselling books and a fan base of over 5.5 million subscribers.
"It is laced with authenticity. I think the difference between content 20 years ago and all the digital content there is today, is that a lot of it thrives on real people and real stories. In the past few years especially, it has thrived on diversity by giving voices to those who otherwise have been silenced. I think that’s why people are taking to it - there’s such a gradient of experiences. People are embracing this very new thing, and it is still evolving because obviously there are so many people who are still silenced and whose stories aren’t being told."
Photographer Amber McKee captures the essence of what makes Connor so unique - it’s his relatability and ability to discuss life’s complexities with a smile. Captured in a quiet hotel room (aka his second-home), the warm Los Angeles light soaks through each image and plays on old-Hollywood charm. Leo Plass brings the colorful, yet relaxed, fashion.
To read the full interview and see more of Amber’s beautiful series with Connor, make sure to get yourself a copy of Issue 14, which is now available to buy in selected stockists worldwide and via our online shop, beyond the brief teasers below.