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Population Isolation: Connection in the time of COVID

United States

This project began during a period of unwanted and unexpected isolation, brought on by the COVID-19 Pandemic. With all photographic work at a sudden standstill, we began with self-portraits as a way to wrestle with our own anxiety and preserve an unprecedented time in history. As photographers that is how we naturally respond to things. We photograph them, if only to have a record of their existence.

We then moved outward, contacting friends, family, neighbors, using Craigslist. We sought all ages, economic groups, races, genders, and sexual orientations. For the pandemic became a strangely unifying experience, regardless of who you were or what you believed, we were all isolated together. The project revealed a shared humanity, as we explored conditions of aloneness as proof of belonging.

Inspired by Edward Hopper, the narratives appear as if stills for a movie or tableaux in a play. Yet, though crafted, our work is informed by our photojournalistic roots and is documentary at its core. Each image is a retelling of a person’s story inspired by how they were feeling, how life had changed and what they were doing to cope (or not cope) during the COVID lockdown. To the viewer it is as if you have happened upon a scene, a series of uneasy moments marked by a vague feeling that something is not quite right.

During the time while our world was closed, we documented rage, laughter, tears, joy, and fear, sometimes all in a single session. The challenge was to create intimacy from a distance, which is a question we all will be asking for years to come. So we pushed on, looking for connection. As photographers we crave it, it is the reason why we do what we do. To see how people live, see how they survive and to help them feel seen and heard. Even when, especially when, we are in isolation.

Mother’s Day, Day 59
Patty Making Masks, Day 42
Me, Day 10
Uncommon Lyfe, Day 47
Lucy Bogus, Day 39
Red Skates, Day 28
Birders, Day 39
Chuk and Chewy, Day 14
Flag, Day 186
Luca, Day 11
Dance Party, Day 40
Apartment Rob, Day 97
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Leah Nash

Leah Nash (The Nash) and Christopher Onstott (The CO) are an award-winning photography & motion duo that specialize in portraiture and lifestyle imagery. They… More »

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