As close as we can be

Portraits taken during the Covid-19 pandemics through webcams.

Now on show at Format International Photography Festival!  See it online at in Room 06.

I felt the urge to document what in the last two months has been going on in the life of the people I know, all scattered in different countries, experiencing lock-down and self-isolation at different levels of intensity. But I could not get close enough to photograph them, even the ones who live next to me. So I took their portraits via webcam, directing them during the video-call, choosing together perspectives and poses so they could feel their experiences to be represented.

I find it particularly fitting that the social distancing affected both the subjects of my photographs and me as a photographer. Them, because they could be physically close only to a few other persons in their intimate family or friends circle (if any); me, because I could not get near to my subjects as I would normally do, and had to find a new way to create images.

However distant, I feel all of them now closer than before, thanks to their collaboration and loving support. Many people lately have used technologies and the newly found free time to reconnect with friendships left in corner for a while. But as heart-warming as it can be, we simultaneously realize that digital relationships are never like the real thing. This social isolation, this increasing digitalization of work, consume and relationships was already there, it is just that now it was necessary for it to take much more space. We knew it already, and now that we know it much more, what do we think about it? Who is missing touch, smells, warmth, dirt, noise, in a word…closeness?