Distance in the Time of Corona: Portraits of Self Isolation
“ Asleep or awake indoors or out of doors in the bath or bed no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres in your skull.” Orwell's words strongly resonate with the very nature of the struggle humanity and society as a whole is facing today with self isolation.
Bringing the global pandemic down to the individual level. Portraits tell a story of feeling and expression. Helping to create a human connection that we all crave living in these times of Corona Virus.
Following a journey of the pandemic.The aim and focus of this project is to explore through portraiture with photographic narrative how the mask is muting our voices and expression whilst capturing a glimpse into peoples self isolation in the following regions : Cape Town South Africa, Sardinia Italy and in my home town of London UK.
Presenting a more humanistic view point. As opposed to the statistical and ever more confusing political views of the virus we are exposed to from governments and mass media. Each person was asked to write 2 words or symbols with hashtag on their mask. To describe how they felt at the start of lockdown and how they feel during and living with Corona Virus and its restrictions. They were also asked to place something near their chair that they have connected to during their self isolation. All portraits were shot with social distancing.
Using the same protocol for each image, the person is photographed from front, with a neutral gaze and seated.The photographer stands on the threshold of the subjects front door. Creating a frame within a frame. The series is based on aesthetics of typology. It balances between the coldness of this systematic protocol and the warm tones that bathe each image, As well as between the sanitary distance that's has become a new social norm and a unique view into the intimacy of the home.
I started shooting the project in Cape Town at the start of the worldwide implementation of lockdown in the spring months of April and May 2020. With 9 residents of Doric court. When South Africa was undergoing one of the worlds strictest lockdowns. I then continued to shoot 7 more portraits in the province of Alghero in Sardinia into the easing of lock down in summer during August 2020. As Italy was exiting a heavily restricted state. With the second wave of the virus in London and the UK. Together with the return of self isolation and lockdown, and the impositions of stricter restrictions. I continued to shoot a further 6 portraits during late November and December of 2020.
Each of the 22 portrait tells a story of feelings and connections to the notion “There is more that unites us than sets us apart". Through statements displayed and voiced on each mask.
The hope for this project and series, is to convey to humanity the importance that the virus is not selective. And we are all equally in need of connection and inclusion without discrimination, prejudice and borders.
"Distance in the time of Corona: Portraits of Self Isolation" shows that everyone is concerned by the current crisis of the pandemic, but that it does not affect everyone in the same way.