Coronavirus: Powerful photographs capture families in isolation
Artist takes to the streets to show Brooklyn during a shutdown
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s order that all nonessential businesses must close went into effect on Sunday. He also said all nonessential workers should stay home.
“This is the most drastic action we can take,” said Mr Cuomo. “This is not life as usual.”
There have been more than 192 deaths due to Covid-19 in New York, and there are now more than 54,800 people diagnosed in the United States. Health experts have urged people to practice social distancing to help stop the spread of the virus.
More than ever before in recent history, people are shuttered inside their homes across the nation and the world. Stephen Lovekin, a New York photographer, responded to the shutdown by taking to the streets to capture images of families at home in Ditmas Park, a neighbourhood in Brooklyn.
“As a photographer I have always loved and been drawn to shooting portraits,” said Mr Lovekin. “So, when this Coronavirus began to rapidly spread, and people were ordered into “self-isolation” and “social distancing,” I began to feel compelled to document this unprecedented time.”
The project, like the statewide lockdown, started a week ago. Mr Lovekin said that he has already received “the most positive reaction out of anything I have ever been involved with.” On instagram, commenters thank him for allowing them to see “neighbours and friends.”
The images depict people standing at windows while holding signs with messages like “You cannot be lonely if you like the people you’re alone with,” and “Tough times never last...but tough people do.” Or, in the case of his own family’s sign: “Soon we will be together,”
“When beginning the project, I hadn’t completely settled on the idea of photographing everyone behind a window,” said Mr Lovekin. “As the project began to evolve, the idea of the window started to make more sense. The window being something that we look out on the world from.”
Mr Lovekin said he hopes that his photography project will allow people to feel more connected to the outside world, despite being separated from one another for an unknown amount of time.
The window, he said, was the perfect frame: “Something that we normally do not enter or exit from.”