Documenting Isolation: How Lomographers Cope With Confinement, Pt. 1

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The current global situation has put everything on hold – the streets are empty, shops are closed. All of a sudden, we're required to maintain social distancing, keep our hands off our faces, and live in quarantine conditions.

How do creatives cope during unsettling times? Lomographers evansabahnurd, fragostille, and ksreichert kindly shared their thoughts, experiences, and photo stories for the first part of this mini-series. We hope that somehow, you will find comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this challenging time.

Edwina Combe, Australia

Name: Edwina Combe
LomoHome: evansabahnurd

Hello. Please tell us a bit about this photo series taken during quarantine?

I use analogue photography as a form of mindfulness and healing, which is very important to me given my current state of anxiety. My process is always quite grounding and personal, so these photographs reflect fragments of my current feelings.

Credits: evansabahnurd

How does the current crisis affect your creative process and your daily routine?

Due to COVID restrictions in Australia, I'm currently out of work and I'm in isolation with my four housemates. This automatically narrows down where I can physically shoot and who can model for me. Also with the recent death of my grandmother, I'm struggling a bit mentally to grieve and I'm unable to visit my family or hometown during this time. Taking photos helps to kind of 'bring me back into myself' when I'm anxious or sad, and the slowness of the creative process helps me to appreciate the small glimpses of good things. In a technical sense, I'm also impacted because I can no longer go into my labs to drop off film, so I have been posting my film to a local lab called Ikigai Camera- who have been fantastically supportive.

How do you keep inspired despite the limitations?

Just before she passed, my grandmother gave me several of her old cameras. I've found it very healing to go shoot with them and find all their quirks. Ultimately shooting film keeps me motivated, and makes me very grateful that I'm in isolation with 3 other people who support my creative endeavors.

Credits: evansabahnurd

As a photographer/creative, are there any lessons or realizations that you picked up from the current situation?

I've been very surprised how many rolls I've shot during this time! You'd think that staying home would limit the number of photos I take, but I've got several just waiting to be developed. If anything, I've realized that I should set up a home darkroom because I miss developing my own black and white.

Credits: evansabahnurd

Any advice for Lomographers from all over the world?

Keep hope, be resourceful, let the film photography become cathartic for you, wash your hands, and stay safe.

Visit Edwina's LomoHome to see more photos!

Francesca Agostino, Italy

Name: Francesca Agostino
LomoHome: fragostille

Hello. Please tell us about these photos that you took during the quarantine.

Scatti ai tempi del Covid-19 is sincerely, for me, a real challenge: the idea to shoot at home turned me on because we have the habit of bringing out our cameras to shoot only "the world outside", while at home we keep them in a drawer. So I have started running up and down the stairs to catch anything that I have completely missed. Luckily, at home, my family and I have many passions: I personally love photography, music, books, and sports; my brother is a singer and musician, and my father is a vinyl collector. I simply have too many things that surround me – objects of my childhood, family heirlooms, and my best model ... my cat. Meanwhile, I'm casting my mini Lego-figure for a photo-docufilm during quarantine ... stay tuned!

Credits: fragostille

How does the current crisis affect your creative process?

Right after the lockdown, I thought: I absolutely need a stock of films! I cannot leave the house, so... I think there'll be a lot to enjoy inside! I have decided to turn this 'imposition' of staying home into an occasion to get involved and dedicate myself to shoots that I've thought about. Initially, I was a little bit skeptical, but after a while, I realized that this situation can be taken like a challenge, such as "now let's see what you can do, stuck at home". We are certainly aware of the disastrous consequences of this pandemic, but on the other hand, the quarantine is offering us that all the free time that we usually say we don't have. Let's take the opportunity to find in the attic forgotten things, or to immortalize the quiet of the house and portraits often taken for granted. Pick up your cameras and, as suggested by the 6th Golden Rule of Lomography ... don't think, just shoot! Not only at home: if you go to work, if you go to the supermarket, you could catch unique scenarios!

How do you keep inspired despite the limitations?

Everything happened so quickly that I have taken several days to realize that around the world, especially in Italy, things got really bad. I live in a small town in central Italy, we have had no infected citizens and maybe that makes us safer as if we were in a bubble. That probably helps. Anyway, we immediately realized that we would be at home for a long time and that it would have been useless to complain or lose heart. So, I didn't lose time and I said to myself: do what makes you feel good! So, I'm still alive after almost two months at home, without ever leaving home. I organized my days to never get bored... I (smart) work, I study, I train... but photography is my oasis of peace for spending time looking for objects, shadows, lights, daily gestures (selfies, at worst!!), and capture them.

Credits: fragostille

As a photographer/creative, are there any lessons or realizations that you picked up from the current situation?

During these days, Lomography and the analogic world, in general, are getting busy to give useful tips to share new trials. Personally, I'm learning many new techniques, experiencing and refining other ones, both for shot, development, and printing at home. It's funny, encouraging, and exciting! There are so many things to learn, but also to share. I have found among old stuff, very interesting objects: old cameras from daddy's knickknacks, odd lens, useful flashes, old films to develop (can't wait to develop and see results). There's no better time for experiencing, making mistakes, chilling out in our 'harem' of cameras ... and fill the day with our great passion. For instance, at the moment, I've been experimenting with my LC-A with double exposures! I would have liked to exchange my exposed film with another lomographer to be re-exposed, but unfortunately, there are no many lomographers around here in my little place, so I'll handle it myself! :D

Credits: fragostille

Any advice for Lomographers from all over the world?

I don't think lomographers need so much advice from me, they well know Lomography world needs us and our contributions! It is the right time for that, no excuse. If you have a real passion, it's hard to feel lonely with a camera and a film! And it is the way to 'survive' any bad situation: I feel free with a camera in my hands, so I don't feel so 'trapped' at home if I shoot :D We'll be better when this is all over, but ... let's shoot! and everything's gonna be alright (soon!).

Visit Francesca's LomoHome to check out more photos!

Kathryn Reichert, USA

Name: Kathryn Reichert
LomoHome: ksreichert

Hi! Please tell us about these photos you took during the lockdown.

“Where Your Feet Are” began to take shape over the past few months as I learned to become more “present” at the moment. At the end of 2019, an uphill battle with undiagnosed PTSD led me to seek out treatment. I was lucky to meet someone during treatment going through something similar who shared with me a single, simple mantra: “Be where your feet are.”

Credits: ksreichert

Not long after, COVID-19 started making its way into the country and I found myself faced with a perfect cocktail of anxiety-inducing ingredients - from the constant exploration of PTSD triggers in treatment to changes in medication to the sheer disbelief at what was happening in the world at large. As all of these things swirled together, “Be where your feet are” became the glue that held my life together. I spent time each day with my camera slowly and carefully studying a room, finding beauty in banal scenes, acknowledging the place of these objects in my everyday life - the beauty in the play of light and shadows across a dish towel, the fragility of the dust on the shelves, the feat of engineering in a lopsided stack of dishes. It is a recognition of the precarious balance of permanent and temporary existence. It is so simple but so important. Remind yourself of where your feet are at that moment and take stock. Am I where I need to be? Am I present? These questions have only become increasingly more important as the surreal current events of the world continue to unfold.

How does the current crisis affect your creative process?

It has actually helped me in terms of discipline with my work. Prior to the quarantine, I was all over the place with different artistic pursuits. I’d drop a project as soon as something else caught my eye and there was just this trail of unfinished work left behind me. It has been helpful to acknowledge these limitations, like staying at home or not spending money on new supplies, as the rigid boundaries I have to operate within. Instead of allowing myself to be distracted by newer, shinier endeavors, I have been focusing solely on this series. It’s novel to me in the sense that before this series, most of my work has consisted of brightly-colored, otherworldly images that celebrate getting absolutely lost in your imagination. “Where Your Feet Are” is a break from all of that. It is a deep breath spent considering the power of quiet curiosity and presence in a time of constant upheaval.

Credits: ksreichert

How do you keep inspired despite the limitations?

I’ve always enjoyed checking out the work of other artists and now that there is not too much else going on, I’ve been taking advantage of the opportunity to indulge in that more often. I get inspired by browsing different online platforms, like Lomography homes, Instagram, and different groups on Facebook. It’s always amazing to see the different ways people work, whether it’s with wild new combinations of processes or perspectives I never would have thought to try myself. I’ve also found it to be a great time to crack open some art books that I bought ages ago with good intentions but never got around to reading.

As a photographer/creative, are there any lessons or realizations that you picked up from the current situation?

It’s easy to tell ourselves that being shut in our homes or out of public places means that we can’t accomplish anything; there is no work to be done or photos to be taken. I have found the opposite to be true. This is the time that we get to get personal. There’s no better way to be forced into introspection than being holed up with yourself for months. Before this series, before quarantine, I used to go out of my way to remove personal effects from photos. Even though I enjoyed “getting to know” artists who had that kind of transparency, I was always shy about it, myself. My things weren’t new or stylish enough, my house wasn’t clean enough; chaos absolutely reigns here. However, acknowledging the relevance of these perfectly imperfect parts of my life has been important to reinforcing my sense of place and acceptance. The façade of that heavily curated lifestyle is falling by the wayside for a lot of people. The connection that this kind of honesty builds between all of us is so important right now.

Credits: ksreichert

Any advice for Lomographers from all over the world?

We are living in times of great change. There’s already talk about a shift to the “new normal” from how we socially engage in how we conduct business. We have an incredible opportunity to document that change and- at the end of all of this- to share these pivotal moments with future generations. While times are tough, I urge you to keep shooting in whatever way you can. Nothing is too mundane in times like these, nothing is unimportant. As photographers/creatives, our strength is in our ability to tell a story and every experience, big and small, will play a role when it comes to understanding the bigger picture down the road.

Check out Kathryn's LomoHome to see more of her photos!


We would like to thank the Lomographers who shared their photos and stories with us. Stay tuned for the second part of this series.

2020-05-07 #culture #news #people #corona #create #covid19 #stay-home

5 Comments

  1. evansabahnurd
    evansabahnurd ·

    Thank you for featuring me <3

  2. shhquiet
    shhquiet ·

    @evansabahnurd thank you, too. hope all is well :)

  3. crismiranda
    crismiranda ·

    Stay safem stay home

  4. ksreichert
    ksreichert ·

    Thanks so much for including me! It was wonderful (and definitely reassuring!) to hear Edwina and Francesca’s take on isolation, too. Solidarity! We will get through this!

  5. fragostille
    fragostille ·

    I'm so glad and excited to be included in this interview.
    I'm feeling so close with Edwina and Kathryne. Good job!
    stay strong ladies! ♥

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