There I was. Sitting in my living room sipping a cup of coffee when my housemate exclaimed, “Woah, China is on lockdown because of this Corona virus.” I remember not thinking much of it at the time. Unsettling, yes, but I felt ignorantly confident that it would just end there. As the severity of Covid-19 continued to rise, feelings of anxiety, fear, uncertainty, sadness, and loss of control became an impending reality for me. In typical, cliche artist fashion, I decided to take these overwhelming feelings to photography.
I knew I wanted to convey my thoughts on this very serious matter delicately and with much fragility. When thinking of the style of shoot I wanted to create, fine art elements begin to boil to the surface rather quickly. So I ran with it. I began making parallels between my sadness and pale tones, uncertainty to an overall uneasy mood, and this sense of frailty to the material I would use as garments for my subjects…tulle. I started designing mental mood boards that turned into Pinterest boards, that turned into a full day of shooting with some of my dearest friends. I took the initiative on doing hair and makeup (with the help of Elle). I wanted something soft and unrefined to portray my own wavering sense of control throughout a global pandemic. Before we arrived at the location, I had an idea of what I wanted each of the girls to be wearing. I had no idea, really, of how the execution would take place. As my ideas (and the multiple spools of tulle I borrowed from a family friend’s wedding venue) began to unravel, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my inspiration had slowly turned into a reality. I was pleased and bursting at the seams to begin shooting. Then shooting began.
When directing, I wanted my subjects to feel a sense of calm and peace. I remember speaking softly as I had many times before to myself during the pandemic. “Close your eyes, deep breaths”, I’d instruct them. This was my way of coping with all of the chaos that I had been enduring throughout quarantine. Slow shutter speed to relay my feelings of being in a whirlwind, a blur. The use of shadows to portray the looming questions like, “Are we going to be okay?”, “Will our photography business stay afloat during all of this?”, “Will my family and I be exposed to the virus with something as simple as a grocery store run?”, “What will we do if we can’t pay rent?” And the use of light to symbolize the very real truth that hope is coming. We will make it through. We will be okay. We, as a people, will work together to ensure security, and if not security then love. Yes…love.
If there is anything that I have learned in this pandemic, it is that the human spirit is more alive than it ever has been before. And, damn it, if that ain’t enough to motivate us all to keep moving forward with faith and gratitude.
I hope that you enjoy these images as much as I have enjoyed creating and editing them. They are a piece of my heart and I couldn’t have done it without the help and dedication of my friends and housemates Dustin, Kelsey, Braxton, Elle, Emma, and Nathan. I also want to give praise where praise is due to my photography inspiration, Jennifer B. Thoreson. Thank you for sharing your unmatched vision with the world.