This is Jacqueline and Lucifer: “I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ve lived through many national disasters and other viral outbreaks but never seen such a response.  Will masks & 6 ft distancing become a way of life? We are waiting and watching to see what unfolds both socially and culturally.”

This is Simon: “Sitting on the deck overlooking Topanga Canyon eating half my bodyweight in hummus and chips I feel really connected to not just the abundance of nature around me but also to the gazillions of people all over the world living through this strange time.  The level of connection with friends and family (I’m English) scattered around this planet of ours has surprisingly increased even as we are all hidden away. The days are blending, I’m binge-watching OZARK, doing makeshift ‘Hillbilly’ workouts between endless cups of tea, and marveling at nature in full swing around me even as we are all are forced to re-assess our priorities.”

This is Ngozika making masks: “There’s something about this isolation that’s different.Being a freelance designer I’m home by myself anyway but there’s something sobering about the fact that my clients now are people all over the country that are helping to save lives and I don’t know them. I haven’t seen their faces and I don’t know their names. I just know that I’m trying to help as much as I can. So now my business is making masks. No more cocktail dresses. No more wedding gowns. Masks!”.

“I think that the hardest thing is being separated from other people. I’m cut off from my children, my grandchildren, and that’s been very hard for me. I’m a very outgoing person, I like people and I like to do things with people… I Have my dogs, this is it. And my husband. I don’t know how many people are feeling the same way, maybe some people are enjoying the solitude but I am not.”

This is Sade:  “I had three jobs. At noon I got a notification that one job had shut down and by five I got a notification that my second job shut down. I am not working at all, it’s been very crazy. I’m trying my best to meditate and journal and just be. Hopefully it will be over soon. My mother was getting her nails done two weeks  ago and I had to tell her to stay inside, this is serious. My grandmother is more aware: she’s stayed inside for weeks. I call her every day to check in on her.  I’m keeping the bonds alive, virtually. I hope that’s something that stays when this is over: that people don’t take things for granted anymore.”

This is Flavio our delivery guy from the pharmacy: “I’ve been waking up with this view of the city empty but a feeling of unity. As much as I see emptiness on the streets I see unity.  It’s like running a 400 meter loop. The whole world is taking a loop around the track, cleansing, we never did as much cleaning. The air is clean, the water is clean, the houses are clean. We’re halfway around the track and we’re gonna come to the finish line more united than before. At the same time that I feel togetherness…I’ve experienced something I never thought would happen. My car was stolen a few days ago while I was delivering prescriptions. Ten thousand dollars worth of medicine.  That something like that would happen while everyone is banding together is just…crazy.”

This is Michael: He hears news from Italy everyday. Here he’s listening to jazz & braising something delicious the whole neighborhood can smell.

Kevin Steele

Heidi: How are you expressing yourself during this unprecedented time?
Kevin: I’m photographing this personal project documenting life in quarantine, shot through the front door, being safe, into the space of self-isolation, revealing life apart and together.
We are all apart from each other but sharing a common experience. My productions and work shut down for likely months to come and I wanted to channel my creativity into a project that was meaningful. A project revealing how we live through these times, how we are feeling.

When did you start this project?
As the Mayor of Los Angeles announced Stay at Home guidelines, I photographed friends in their place of self-isolation beginning March 15th. As a commercial location photographer my work is full of color and emotion.  This project brings me back to my roots documenting life. One camera, one prime, black and white. No assistants, simple

How did this scale?
Friends referred others and people began to message me to be subjects.  After I had shot 9 scenes I created an Instagram project page @life.onpause and began posting the photographs on the homepage of my website.

How did the narrative unfold?
After each shoot I began to ask a few sentences to share: not who they are but rather how they are really feeling through all of this, and I began adding the stories to the posts. Those stories have became inspiration for others as they share common fears as well as the positive aspects of coming together. Everyone’s situation is different but there is a common feeling through all of this.

What has been the common observation thus far?
Now in the 5th week of shooting over 56 scenes. I’m struck at how the tenor of the photographs and stories have evolved over time. Initially there was shock, denial and anxiety amidst the uncertainty.  As we’ve settled in and realized that this will be awhile there are now feelings of  acceptance and positivity in our self-quarantining.

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