05.09.2020

Facetime Portraits – Reflections

I’ve learned a lot in the last three weeks sitting behind my computer hitting a tiny white button. In 3 weeks I’ve Facetimed with 105 different groups of people. From as close as a block away to as far away as Australia – I’ve done my best to document what this pandemic “looks” like. What I’ve learned about photography is that paired down to its most simple form it’s about documentation. It’s not about what tool you’re using – it only matters that you’re doing it. I’ve felt this for years – that the mundane moments of our in-home lives are just as important as the big days. A photo of my family in an old home carries as much weight as a wedding photo. Simply to know that you existed in that place and in that time. That’s what these photos are to me. They are proof that we are here, we are living, and we are processing what this pandemic feels like. Some of these people welcomed new babies into the world, some had to become teachers to their children, some are completely alone, some had to move in sooner than planned with their partner and some are on the front lines every day working to maintain this virus.

As a photographer – my hope is that when we are able to gather together again we won’t take it for granted. My hope is that we will also take more photos. More photos while we are in our pajamas drinking our coffee, more photos where we aren’t worried about we look like or what style the shoot will be. Instead – I hope we become excited about purely documenting our lives. And as a photographer – I hope that I can enter homes again with as much comfort as these 105 people welcomed me into their homes. Because I can tell you – I am so ready to take your photo. My hope is to compile these images into a book – but for now a blog post will do. And since I can’t share all 105 writings – I pulled a few of my favorite sentiments from various contributors below. Thank you SO much to everyone who was a part of this project and who continues to share it. Should I continue to book these information can be found on my Instagram page.

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“I went on a walk last week and saw all the bouganvillea blooming and smelled street tacos from across the street and listened to the doors on the almost-empty bus closing. I almost burst into tears. I love this city, I’m so proud to live here, and I can’t wait until we can hug and gather and re-emerge together.”

“I am learning that I am resilient.”

“I find myself seething at incompetent leadership and the deep cancer that fear and ignorance have wrought in our country — but then, miraculously, a moment later, I’ll be surprised by people’s depth, warmth, and willingness to grow and help their neighbor out.”

“I’ve written the girls letters to explain this time and what the world is like so they will know what they lived through someday.”

“My days usually start later than I’d planned and end later than I’d planned but somewhere in the middle of those small failures I try to be at least a little productive.”

“This quarantine has also shed light on all of the self work I’ve done the last few years. Because without that I think I’d be more of a nervous/anxious wreck right now.”

“All things considered we are still some of the lucky ones, the light at the end of the tunnel just becomes harder to see sometimes.”

“Our wedding went from being 12 days away to 238. initially we said we wouldn’t cancel it until it was cancelled for us, but eventually our wedding wasn’t really ours anymore. Once we made the decision to postpone though, we felt lighter. we didn’t have to worry about our wedding in the midst of a pandemic, we just had to worry about the pandemic itself.”

“Our motto: why be moody when you can shake your booty!”

“The doctor said to me “there’s no good time to lose a baby, but doing it when you have to be alone is exponentially cruel.” Grief in isolation is a strange sort of horrible – even the minor comforts of the outside world are not accessible.”

“I don’t find peace every day, but I’m trying to practice it. That’s all the universe ever asks of us. Just to be, flaws and all.”

“We know what’s happening out of sight and worry about the isolation of quarantine, how domestic violence, child abuse and mental health issues are already increasing. It can be hard to hear the chorus of voices encouraging us to live it up in this time, soak up the family time, enjoy our kids.”

“There’s a palpable heaviness in the world, and it’s a daily battle to fight the urge to get wrapped up in defeatist thoughts as we face an unprecedented moment in history.”

“Thankfully, my quiet little house and the beings inside it receive me with sweet compassion. The outside world has been harsh and heart-breaking. Our trio is my solace.”

“I’m taking it all hour by hour. I tried week to week, then day to day, and now it feels like I can only get by hour to hour.”

“Something I have been working on in my personal life is saying “no” more, and it took a long hard mandated “NO” to realize just how much I wasn’t doing that.”

“I think all 2020 grads are lacking this closure that we need to move on. It’s like reading a book and the last three pages of a chapter are missing but you have to move on to the next chapter but now you have no idea what’s going on. It’s disorienting.”

“During a recent walk I watched someone get carted out of their house on a stretcher and into an ambulance, their masked family just sitting on the curb. The pain and loss that this virus is inflicting feels like its so far away yet simultaneously right at my doorstep.”

“The universe laughed at my plans of being a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Stay in your cocoon, it said. You’re not ready yet. So, here I remain.”

“I think having a newborn is always kind of a mini quarantine, but the isolation of this period has made it especially tough and also brought out a lot of resilience in us both. The night she came home my parents came to meet her through the back porch window and we all just sobbed. There was so much joy and grief and longing.”

“My fiery burn was put out this month. I’ve had my pity party. I’ve drank too much wine. I’ve slept way too much. There has been no spontaneity. No adventure. No adrenaline. No enthusiasm. No motivation. No joy aside from Joe Exotic and Carol Baskin. So naturally I needed to create my own.”

“I guess we’re learning that anger, anxiety, gratitude, and joy can co-exist. That you can mourn the loss of some dreams while wholeheartedly celebrating what you have.”

“The good is adhering stronger, I can feel it. And that gives me a ridiculous amount of hope – not just about all of this, but about everything.”

“I wash my hands so much that at the end of a shift the skin hurts. I put my work clothes in the washing machine as soon as I walk into my apartment, wipe down or spray everything I’ve touched with alcohol, and shower before I interact with my son. Most days we both wear masks to interact with each other.”

“The fact that we have been given a chance to start off on equal footing as parents has been both inexplicable and wonderful. We’ve laughed, we cried, but most of all we’ve loved!”

“The hardest parts of the pandemic have been (1) selfishness of a select few that do not understand that sheltering at home is for a collective good, not necessarily for individual good and (2) telling sick, hospitalized patients that their loved ones cannot physically be with them due to risk of spread.”

“All the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life have not coming easy, they’ve dragged me kicking and screaming and forced me to learn. This time it’s a pandemic that has become my masterclass in gentleness.”

“This time is showing me that there isn’t harder, there is just hard.”

“We remind each other often that we can do hard things, and let the other person hold space to grieve how they need.”

“I haven’t hugged anyone in 60 days.”

“We lost my Nanny (grandma) to the virus and I definitely found some comfort in knowing that the nurses and doctors who cared for her have hearts as big as his.”

“Quarantine has been a paring down of what filled our lives before. I feel as if my priorities have been distilled. I now see clearly what matters most – family, connection, nature, joy, presence.”

 

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