As the new coronavirus persists, extra preventive measures and protocols are being taken such as social distancing, nationwide or city-wide lockdowns, or quarantine. Our physiological needs come first – without question, but we still have to sacrifice things that keep us go by – and part of this is our social life. The days feel endless as we count down the days, but all we can do is comply, hope, and wait for the best. In the meantime, let's join Francesca Agostino, a.k.a. fragostille, who's been keeping herself in good company through the help of photography.
Making the Most Out of Limitations
The human being is a social being, and our species survive as a collective. Photography, even when done alone, is still a social act in essence as we mostly try to seek for things in this world – sights, faces, experiences we have yet to witness. COVID-19 pandemic has affected this aspect of our lives. The lack of interaction with the outside world can affect our mental and emotional health. This isn't something novel anymore as many of us Lomographers here look into art and photography as our constant daily companion. Still, we are humans first before artists. With our situation being compromised by the pandemic, it's best if we can cope with a new normal and keep art and photography closer to us.
For Francesca, the events passed by oh-so quickly that it took her quite some time to realize that things just got drastic. Living in a small town in Italy herself, she said it's as if being inside a bubble where little to no infected people were around. However, it didn't stop her from assuming what may happen next – the lockdown. Being the optimist, Francesca quickly adapted a mindset on taking this period of time as a challenge for her as a photographer. Francesca knew she'd need to stock up films.
"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 consider that like a challenge, such as "now let's see what you can do, stuck at home". It's not so bad, there's a lot of time you can spend discovering and learning new stuff... it might never come again. I just miss my boyfriend and friends but... when it's all over, we will appreciate more moments together."
And we couldn't agree more. As with the saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder", we're learning to also give more depth and value to our relationships in life. When our hearts are nurtured with insights and reflections, so will our art.
Making New Habits
It's not a secret that we photographers love going out – whether you're introverted or extroverted – it's without a question there's more life bursting outside than inside! And we understand that. However, due to the limitations of what we can do for now, we'll need to find something else in our routine. Francesca brought up that we artists and photographers mostly have the habit to only bring and use our cameras with us "for shooting only "the world outside", while at home we keep them in a drawer"... and a lot of us are guilty as charged. Thus, Francesca wanted to change this.
Although she never gets bored as she has a lot in her plate daily – work, studies, training – photography is her haven, and she wanted to imbue this in her routine despite how difficult it might be. At first, Francesca herself was skeptical and didn't think the confines of her home would give her the satisfaction. "It seemed worthless until you see the results." Nowadays, her grind consists of running up and down the stairs to see if she's caught anything she may have missed. Her focus came to modern still life photography, self-portraits and macro-photography, all shot in silver black-and-white as she plays with textures, shadows, and light.
Living with a family full of passions – a brother who is a singer, a father who is a vinyl collector and Francesca herself, a lover of photography, music, books, and sports – she took the opportunity to document items that represent their hobbies and pursuits. Having several things that represent passion surround her made indoor photography easy and fun, as she and her family would also use this time to grow closer, talk about their childhood, family history of heirlooms, etc. Her pet cat has also been her best model yet! Francesca has also mentioned her Lego-figures being part of a cast for a documentary film. It just goes to show that beauty and art can be found just within our reach!
Lomography Within: Opportunities for Our Heart and Art
Now, this is how Lomographer in you can step in and fight the quarantine blues. By seeing this moment as an opportunity and free time that we usually do not have, there will be more room for artistic growth. As Francesca would say:
Inspect every corner of the box. Inspect the box itself – you don't need to be confined in your room. Take a peek from the window and check out how the birds and trees are doing. Look down the floor and find some cool patterns. Relish the golden hour's light as it paints your home in warm yellow. Check out the attic and look for old portraits, pictures, memories – make use of them; take a picture. On your way to the grocery store? Take advantage of that little time you have outside! Unleash the documentarist in you.
"In these days, the Lomography and the analogic world, in general, is 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 for printing at home. It's funny, encouraging, and exciting! There are so many things to learn, but also to share. The Lomography world needs us and our contribution! It is the right time for that, no excuse. We'll be better when this is all over... This historical moment will teach us to appreciate small items, small gestures...and many things that we didn't care about. So let's shoot – eventually, everything's gonna be alright!"
There's plenty of opportunities. Let's all heal and fill with art and photography the emptiness of the heart.
What have you been up to lately, Lomographer? Let us know your projects during this historical moment? Let us know through the comments below!