[ COVID EXPRESSIONS ] An interpretive project that reflects the personal experiences, feelings and thoughts related to COVID-19 and its impact. It may be conceptual or artistic in the approach. Submissions do not have to adhere to documentary principles. Alternate processes and digital manipulations are allowed. Each submission consists of 5 to 20 images. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 2 submissions. All images must be taken in 2021.
This photo series emerged from a phone conversation with my covid-positive, in-isolation mother: ‘How are you, Amma?’ ‘I’m good,’ she said, ‘I just feel… somewhat lost’. Perhaps it’s this feeling that best describes the experience of living through a pandemic – not just for her but for so many of us. In my attempt to portray this period in time, I photographed life in lockdown on the near outskirts of Bangalore, where I live with my family – which is bookended by my 86-year-old grandmother and 6-year-old niece. I documented their days as they melted from one to the next, and the world outside as we saw it from our apartment – a world that seems surreal, a world that feels intangible. Simple acts, like breathing the air around us and touching another person, have become delicate offerings, fragilities that are no longer ours to own. The volatility of these experiences left us disoriented, often yearning for touch and togetherness, and questioning who or what we will find ourselves to be on the other side of this extraordinary time. Somewhat lost hopes to speak of this experience – the journey through a time of displacement and the longing for a world that belongs to us.
In the Shiite Muslim religion, it is a sacrament to go to cemeteries on Thursdays and Fridays to recite prayers and the Qur'an at their loved ones’ graves. This Thursday and Friday (December 23-24, 2021) it snowed heavily and it was difficult to go to the Vadi-Rahmat Cemetery in Tabriz. On Saturday (December 25, 2021), I went to my mother's grave (dead on December 17, 2020 ) and the section dedicated to Corona victims. It was difficult for the people present in the cemetery to identify the graves of their loved ones; all of the signs were lost under the snow. Each one somehow removed the snow from the gravestones. As Covid drove them away from their families, the snow also has added to this arrogance of separation, as they struggled to find the graves of their loved ones. They were so anxiously looking for the marks of father, mother, brother, sister and child that they seemed to be looking for a riddle or for " Dead Christ in the Grave" - a painting by Hans Holbein! Based on supposition and suspicion, they removed several graves to find their beloved graves from the photo engraved on the gravestone. If they found it, they would clear all the snow and otherwise leave it. These are the graves of victims whose loved ones have not come to their graves this week. According to a woman crying over her mother’s grave, the content of the looking photos on the gravestones was: I am lost, look, and find me!
Emergence of pandemic of Covid-19 during last two years caused long quarantine and continuous closings in cities and public places such as sport clubs. However, these restrictions never stopped the true sport lovers from exercise and in some cases increased their will. My son Hamid who is 16 years old, in spite of shortages for supporting high expenses of body building instruments, made primitive means of sport such as weights, barbells, benches etc. in home, using home furniture. Using the sport applications in cellphones started exercises without fear of Covid-19 at home.
Now this experience of watching the suffering in the distance has been integrated into our daily life. These images are so deeply integrated into daily life that we are almost used to them. The time and space distance between us and these "disasters in the distance" seems to have been erased, but in fact, we can easily turn off the screen and switch to mobile games. So at this moment, we see the images of these distant disasters, what is left behind and what it means.