Imagine a fly looking from its vantage point into various rooms of the photographer’s house during the Covid lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. As it goes from room to room, the fly uses its compound eyes to see and then share the mood in the house during the lockdown.
The photographs may unnerve you because of their multiple images. They are meant to give an impression of the fly’s vision, a vision normal to it, but disconcerting and jarring to you. Nothing is right. The photos are dark. They are mostly devoid of people. The images may appear to bounce around. These are lonely and disturbing scenes.
The rooms recall activities that no longer take place because of COVID lockdowns. The fly looks in on a computer screen with a Zoom session. A just begun puzzle sits on the dining room table. A vase with dead flowers purchased before the lockdown sits as a still life. The photographer sits at his computer wearing a mask. Is the fly, observing the loneliness, disorientation, and actual dread of the Covid pandemic, a metaphor for us?
These photos in this project are created with a Sinar view camera using 4×5 inch black and white film or with a Sony a6000 digital back. Both use 3 or 4 pinholes at a time for the lens. Negatives are digitally scanned to be made visible on a computer screen and the Sony images are transferred to the computer.
The photographer, his wife, children, and their families. The photographer and his wife are fortunate that they all live in the same town. Before COVID they could visit in each other’s homes. They would often be together for Friday night dinner sharing words and food. Communication is now over the telephone or standing far apart in a front yard.
The house where the photographer and his wife live.
The entrance hall. The photographer and his wife liked to hold parties or open their house for events before COVID. Their grandchildren would greet guests and take their coats. They miss those times.
The living room. The photographer and his wife rarely go into the living room now because during COVID guest are not invited into the house.
Drop leaf table. This table holds lamps, porcelain figures, and photographs. There are photos of the photographer’s children as teens. Because of COVID he and his wife cannot hug them as a precaution in order to reduce the risk of infection.
Stairway into the basement. During COVID the photographer goes there to exercise and work in his darkroom. This is a diversion from thinking about the pandemic and when it will ever end.
The piano where his daughter took lessons. Before Covid the photographer’s children and families would often come for Shabbat dinner. His daughter liked to play the piano before everyone ate. The music would set a relaxing mood for the work week’s end.
A table holding illustrated books, a pendulum, and menorahs. One of the menorahs uses olive oil. Since the photographer does not go into stores he was unable to buy wicks last Hanukkah. The photographer and his wife lit candles in the others during Hanukkah.
Flowers left unattended on a table in the den. This room is rarely visited during COVID. In some ways the lock down reduces the expectation to be out and about.
The photographer’s wife’s study. His wife is an author and spends much of the day writing at her computer. She is an introvert and COVID lockdowns give her time to work alone.
A thousand piece puzzle left undone. The photographer and his wife thought working on a puzzle would add variety to the day. It turned out to be much too frustrating to complete.
The kitchen. This room is a bright and cheery place to spend time. Spending so much time indoors allows the photographer and his wife to devote more attention to preparing meals.
The breakfast room. The photographer and his wife spend breakfast time both eating and reading newspapers. As the day goes on the table fills with newspapers, magazines, and dishes.
The bedroom. The photographer’s wife likes to read in bed. Reading is a way of taking one’s mind off of the impact of the pandemic and the COVID lockdowns.
The Hall. Because of COVID many activities he would have done in person are now done over Zoom.
The photographer’s office. The photographer spends much of his day at the computer. Under COVID, his social life is sustained using Zoom.
The photographer is climbing the stairs from the basement hoping to get his life back to “normal”.