I’ve been so overwhelmed with figuring out how to do my job remotely that I haven’t quite had the time to process the impact that COVID-19 has had on my day-to-day life. As I have been reflecting on this experience over the last few days and nights, I’ve found a lot to be grateful for. I really miss going to school each day and seeing my students and colleagues, but I am grateful that I still can do my job from home and am still receiving a paycheck. I’ve been going stir-crazy at home, but I’m grateful that I live in a naturally beautiful neighborhood to walk around in. It’s been a tough two weeks, but I am grateful that I have a home and life that makes this self-isolation tolerable.
One of the most thought-provoking pieces I’ve seen over this last week was a photo essay by a professional photographer in Tennessee. Tausha Dickinson, a photographer in Franklin, Tennessee, wrote on Facebook that while self-quarantined, she also needed an outlet for her creative work. She posted in her neighborhood group that would be walking the neighborhood with her camera and invited her neighbors onto their front lawns, steps, or doors and windows, doing whatever their heart desired. Five hours later, from a safe distance, she walked the neighborhood, capturing the essence of self-isolation agains a backdrop of gorgeous Southern homes. The photos range from cute, romantic pictures of couples, cute pictures of families, and hilarious photos of bearded, gun-and-whiskey toting men. She calls the piece “Weird Times, Bright Spirits” (Graves).
This photo essay reminded me a lot of the photos I studied in school of families living through the Dust Bowl, but clearly not as depressing. While the subjects of those famous Dust Bowl pictures were intended to show the despair of their lives, it seemed like Dickinson’s essay was to show the beauty of family and community in an otherwise horrifying moment in our history. I loved this piece because of how different the photographs were. My favorite photos were those that were staged, like the gun-and-whiskey toting men, which is hitting close to home for me, as my husband came home yesterday with a shotgun and $200 of canned goods. Some of the other pictures seemed like they could have been from an engagement session, and you’d never have known that these families were isolating in their homes unless you saw them in this context. It also made me think about what someone would see if they took a photo of me at home during this self-isolation period: crazy hair, stress pimples, and a different hoodie every day. I could probably work on that.
Graves, Liza. “A Neighborhood-Wide Photoshoot Captures Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” StyleBlueprint, STYLEBLUEPRINT, A SB MEDIA COMPANY, 25 Mar. 2020, styleblueprint.com/everyday/a-neighborhood-wide-photoshoot-captures-community-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR01EBWi8IrDvCzSQSJldT_Yuolb0Qi0eliyf1eNxyH4rJiS4RSYfajC1-c.