Photographs by Lauren Para
The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust isolation onto us all in as many varied forms as there are varied lifestyles, living situations, and regions of the world. Exploring how we have tried to cope with our isolation is the topic of this project. This is important and relevant as all human beings need connection with one another and isolation imposed on the basis of safety brings up complicated inner arguments.
Focusing on this topic, my research question is: How can the ongoing and emerging effects of prolonged isolation be illustrated and examined and how are these effects being coped with? My goal is to create a series of photographs that offer a glimpse into the complicated emotions and ongoing reality that Covid-19 has forced us to live within. Research was interpreted to inform the creation of the images. The series is meant to be viewed in the order it is presented with all photos being taken on the same day to illustrate the lack of change during quarantine. The images take you through the beginning of the pandemic when the unknown of the outside was overwhelming and our homes seemed like dark, hazy places to be. It illustrates separation from friends and family, examining how one can feel far from those in their own home as well as how escaping to the outside still feels like a cage. As time went on, it became difficult to imagine an end with the future seeming bleak and black. But now we can all start to see a return to life and hope.
For the bulk of my research, I examined scholarly articles and studies that take a look at isolation during the pandemic. This has given me a more comprehensive look at how this prolonged period of isolation has affected different social groups. I also interviewed and spoke with my family and friends to get a more personal look at how all of them are handling this isolation. From these, I created a small body of work that can act as a touchstone to the layered emotions and experiences that we have all been living through and encourage individuals to look within themselves and check in with how they have been coping with the isolation this pandemic has brought to all of us.
Banerjee, Debanjan. Rai, Mayank. Social Isolation in Covid-19: The Impact of Loneliness. 29 April, 2020. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0020764020922269 Accessed March 2021.
Brooke, Joanne. Jackson, Debra. Older People and Covid-19: Isolation, risk, and ageism. 2 April 2020. Wiley Online Library. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocn.15274 Accessed March 2021.
Dalton, Louise. Protecting the psychological health of children through effective communication about Covid-19. 31 March 2020. The Lancet. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(20)30097-3/fulltext Accessed March 2021.
Farooq, Ali. Impact of Online Information on Self-Isolation Intention During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Cross Sectional Study. 5 June 2020. Journal of Medical Internet Research. https://www.jmir.org/2020/5/e19128/ Accessed March 2021.
Hwang, Tzung-Jeng. Loneliness and Social Isolation during the Covid-19 Pandemic. 2020. Cambridge University. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics/article/loneliness-and-social-isolation-during-the-covid19-pandemic/47ED3121405BEF3CC628A2E73E176594 Accessed March 2021.