CovidRED Visions – Pt. I
When the pandemic took hold one year ago, spring was starting to blossom in Vancouver. The streets became quiet as we cocooned while the cherry and plum blossoms took an opposite tact. Bird song replaced the dull white noise of automobiles and birds themselves were the only things in the sky. Grasses grew to their tallest heights, the bees and insects taking refuge within their towers. It was a time of great beauty in the neighbourhood, however coupled with a feeling of dread, uncertainty and loneliness. The news cycle shouted: hang tight, we’re in a Code Red.
I had been really inspired using my vintage Takumar lenses with my Fuji X series camera the year before. I also began to play around with my black and white filters while shooting colour – a carry-over idea from when I worked with chromes. When I started to look through the lens with the red filter, I began to see some of the emotion I was feeling inside. I did 5 sessions within 10 days walking throughout my neighbourhood and cycling to others nearby.
I wasn’t as interested in commercial closures as I was neighbourhood spaces, the few people out and about, the incredible spring reawakening I was really tuned into, community notes and slices of life interrupted. Part of why the natural plants/flowers shots (coming in Pt. II) felt so appealing was the spring was truly fabulous, seeing it change on a daily basis as I became more in tune with the city’s natural rhythm. The earth doing it’s thing, maybe even a little more of a full expression with the humans damped down a bit. I also had more time than usual to take it in but it was comforting to see natural cycles carry on despite our invisible threat. Hope.
There is an emotional pull to some of these captures of the empty, awkward and unsure times. People figuring out how to walk down the sidewalk with groceries, a strung up tire swing, a random TV by the curb. But with the joy and beauty around, too. I also really like the change in tone and feeling as I move the aperture ring. Some of the shots I did a few in a row changing the aperture and the tone difference is stark. All images are composed and created in camera using a vintage lens, b&w filter and captured digitally.
Here is the first selection from this set — the public spaces, playgrounds and streetscapes of an uncertain time.
(click to view larger)