April 26, 2020

Photography in the Age of COVID-19

What interesting times we live in. Almost 5 months in and the sting of COVID-19 has been felt in almost every corner of the world, plunging all of humanity into a way of life that seems but a kernel of what we once knew. For many, every new day is not something to conquer, but a burden to succumb to. Fear and anxiety abound. We know, in our minds, that every breaking dawn brings us closer to the finish line; and yet we feel, in our hearts, like we are trapped in a cavernous unknown. But there is hope. There is always hope.

In times of great adversity, when the spark of our souls is reduced to a flicker of light, we are reminded of what matters -- of what truly matters. I join the chorus of millions in a newfound gratitude for the gift of existence, and there is not a day that goes by that I do not sing, with my hands and knees, a psalm of thanksgiving. The desire for success and popularity no longer blinds me to the needs of my family and those around me. My priorities are shifting, returning to their proper order. For this, and so much more, I am thankful.

It goes without saying, of course, that to find beauty in the midst of a pandemic-torn world is not to ignore the rubble around us. We are all hurting, and I feel for my fellow creatives, especially those in the wedding and event industry. May you all continue to build resiliency, and find ways to remain afloat until we can return to some glimmer of normalcy.

As an artist, I feel a deep imperative in my bones to create. But how do you keep the creative spark aflame when it often feels like life has been reduced to four walls and a beating heart? One thing I have done is to return to my roots as a philosopher. Researching and writing has been a welcomed balm to my aching heart. I am also committed to documenting our family life, and creating a book that I can pass on to my son -- a way for him to recall little moments of triumph, of joy in togetherness, of happiness in simplicity.

I am currently embarking on a project to book clients and 'photograph' them remotely -- as a photographer, please know that I am using this word in a very loose sense. In brief, clients can book a FaceTime session with me, for which they need nothing more than a phone or a laptop, a window, and a plain wall. Each photoshoot is brief, and consists of me photographing my client, with my phone, using a variety of fabrics, textures, mirrors, and so on (I owe much of my inspiration in this regard to Nick Fancher.) Within 24 hours of each shoot, the client receives a total of 15-20 images, for which they have the choice to pay whatever they want, with a portion of these proceeds going to a COVID-19 relief group of my choice. It allows me to pay for snacks in the cupboard, and to lend a hand, however small, to those giving their lives for the sake of others.

Here are a few images from a recent shoot I did with with my friend Lillia (NV Models). Enjoy.