essays

social distance

Self isolation is a privilege


Every time I step out of the house to run an errand or get supplies, I’m overwhelmed by how much has changed in such a short amount of time. It goes beyond the absence of people, extending to the strange new ways we use social distance to avoid one another in public. Photography in Los Angeles during the quarantine is an unsettling experience.

In this new reality, distance and the ability to maintain it is tied to social status. Although many have the luxury of working from home, the streets are sparsely populated by people who can’t. Many residents still rely on public transportation to get to jobs, run errands, and go about their lives. Others lack a home to work from at all. This pandemic has put them in a situation where they are forced to risk their lives for their livelihood.

As a photographer, I miss the rhythms of everyday street life. Social distancing has made proximity suspect, applying a layer of tension to every potential interaction. Passing a stranger on the street has become a potentially deadly event. This new normal is unlike anything we have collectively experienced, life in Los Angeles is forever changed.