In the first lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 in spring of 2020 I made a series of portraits of people living in isolation in my neighbourhood in Montréal.
The city was so quiet after everyone retreated to their homes that I could hear the melting snow water rushing in the pipes under the streets. It felt desolate, until I started to notice people’s worlds continuing silently behind closed windows, the warm light spilling out against the cold blue of twilight. The views reminded me of Edward Hopper paintings. I wanted to reach out and touch the bubble worlds I saw.
People’s experiences of living through lockdown reminded me of how it felt moving to Canada from England. The feeling of being disconnected from everything and everyone I knew as if I was an astronaut free-floating through space. For a long time I felt as if I was living life in a bubble in which I could hear the voices of my old life but only over the phone, I could even see the faces of the people I loved but only via a screen. I deeply missed being in close physical proximity to the people who really knew me. I missed popping into a friends house, sharing a meal or a cup of tea. I missed the hugs, I missed touch.
These images are an expression of that bubble state and an attempt to bridge the gap between those isolated spaces.
The portraits of friends, neighbours and strangers were all shot at a distance through closed windows and communicated over the phone. Each person I photographed contributed a piece of text describing their personal experience of living in isolation. Creating this work was an incredibly enriching experience for me and made me feel closer to and more grounded in my community here.