Documenting Isolation: How Lomographers Cope With Confinement, Pt. 6

While we are all greatly affected by the pandemic, each of us is dealing with it differently. Some cities, states, or countries are easing into the new normal, while others are still trying to get by with the quarantine. For the past few weeks, we have been sharing different stories from Lomographers on how they're coping with the current situation, and today we will be closing the series with three more photographers and their quarantine stories. We hope that wherever you may be in the world, their stories will bring you comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Wash your hands, wear your masks, practice safe distancing. Take care, Lomographers!

Jessica, London

Name: Jessica
LomoHome: jessicaoe

Please tell us a bit about this photo series taken during quarantine?

For the first month or so of being in lockdown, I felt quite unmotivated, which I think is reflected in the photos I took. Looking back it's a mirror of how I felt inside: dull, you know? Since then I've actually bought a new film camera, and I've felt more alive taking pictures with it. This made me realize maybe that's what I needed all along: to experience something new again.

Credits: jessicaoe

How does the current crisis affect your creative process, your daily routine?

I've stopped having a daily routine. My day is all out-of-sync. But, if I find something creative to do (and actually feel like doing it) like take pictures or draw, I feel a lot better. In another way, it's all about me, how will I do my hair? How will I take care of my skin? So that's good.

Credits: jessicaoe

How do you keep inspired despite the limitations?

I've found a lot of creative inspiration through photo-sharing platforms (such as Lomography) because it's made me realize we're all together at home, feeling similar emotions. Sometimes it's that knowing which encourages me to even get out of bed.

As a photographer/creative, are there any lessons or realizations that you picked up from the current situation?

I've recently gotten off social media. It made me become more present virtually than in real life and I didn't like that. The gag is that the book I've been "reading" since March (pictured in the album) is actually being read, uninterrupted, for the first time, and I got through half in one day.

So it's made me focus more on what I need than what others need from me online.

Credits: jessicaoe

Any advice for Lomographers from all over the world?

I don't know - I think everyone's experience is different, respectfully. But, I think it's healthy to bring something into your every day that you can get excited by. For me, it was a cheap camera I got online. For you, it might be a cookbook or a new goldfish? I don't know haha. But change is good.

Visit Jessica's LomoHome to see more of her photos.

Janlor Encarnacion, Philippines

Name: Janlor Encarnacion
Instagram: jle_film

Please tell us a bit about this photo series taken during quarantine?

I've used this time to practice my photography skills. The past three years were spent focusing on capturing the briefest of moments that I've forgotten how to slow down and deliberately choose what I'm taking photos of. Film - and quarantine - allows me to take my time and think things through.

Credits: jle_film

How does the current crisis affect your creative process, your daily routine?

The events industry won't be coming back soon so all my event documentation work is on hiatus. I've spent all that free time just learning about photography and taking photos around the house and around the area. I still miss going to gigs, though.

How do you keep inspired despite the limitations?

I look forward to documenting events again and applying the slower and deliberate pace I use for my film photos.

Credits: jle_film

As a photographer/creative, are there any lessons or realizations that you picked up from the current situation?

I realized the value of slowing down - which was helpful for me learning to use film more. I've gotten used to the fast-paced documentation life of going to events every weekend and always going out. Staying in just gave me a lot of time to think, plan, and learn. I've also learned the value of small businesses. Without them, I wouldn't have the film I use and I wouldn't know where to get them developed.

Any advice for Lomographers from all over the world?

Keep learning - there's a ton of resources on the internet - and keep documenting. So that when we can all go out again, we can use what we learned.

Read more about JLE Music.

Marcus Smith, Wales, United Kingdom

Name: Marcus Smith
Social media/website: marcadesign.co.uk, @m_smith_94

Please tell us a bit about this photo series taken during quarantine?

With these photos, I wanted to try and reflect the surreal nature of the situation. It felt like overnight things went from normality to a rug being pulled out from underneath you and the everyday things you’re familiar with are slightly different or unrecognizable. I think the Lomochrome Purple pallet kinda complimented that idea it kinda makes you feel like your viewing the world through some sort of dystopian lens. In most of the photos, there’s a deliberate lack of people. A lot of the places were obviously empty, but I wanted to convey the feeling that things had just been left at a standstill. Initially, there was an urge to take photos of the queues and the people frantically panic buying but I felt this was too literal and documentarian so I guess I was just trying to do the opposite.

The photos were taken at different points throughout the lockdown. I would take them on the routes I would either walk or cycle. The self-portrait was taken early on. I was getting a load of extremely vivid apocalyptic dreams and I was really anxious and stunned by the situation like most people were. I think it was that experience that fed the portrait and the whole series really. The majority of the double exposures were taken in mid-May, I felt more relaxed with the situation id say but everything just felt really surreal, like some weird hazy bubble fever dream.

Credits: Marcus Smith

How does the current crisis affect your creative process, your daily routine?

I work as a designer and I do a lot of work from home anyway so in that regard it hasn’t changed that much. It’s been good to have something to focus on and structure my week around still. In the first two weeks of lockdown, everything was up in the air. All the projects I had just went into limbo and it felt like all the plates I had been spinning were about to fall. I've been lucky really, that I’ve managed to keep work the only loss I’ve had was I had to cancel a mini-exhibition I had lined up in Cardiff that was supposed to open in May.

One major disruption to my usual routine is the inability to go out. Normally I would go out for meetings about projects or do work in a different location. I also forced me to rethink my approach to photography, I'm drawn to taking pictures of more urban areas. But where I live it’s a semi-rural sleepy town so I’ve had to try and revisit places I would normally overlook and work with that.

Credits: Marcus Smith

How do you keep inspired despite the limitations?

I try to maintain some kind of balance between creative work and downtime. In the current situation, it's easy to bury yourself in work to try and escape but in the long run, I find doing that just burns me out and it impacts negatively on my work. So I’m mindful to take time out (when I can) to do other things I enjoy doing like playing music, taking photos, or trying to learn something new entirely. Taking photos is a great way for me to relax because it forces you to wonder and to look at your surroundings and be present in the moment. I think it’s in the times of relaxing or letting your mind wander is when inspiration manifests for me.

As a photographer/creative, are there any lessons or realizations that you picked up from the current situation?

In a literal sense, I finally managed to work out how to do a double exposure on my camera (Canon FT QL)! But I’ve just bought a Canon A1 with a multiple exposure switch so I guess ill have to store that knowledge somewhere for a later date. In a broader sense, it’s given me a lot of time to think and dwell on things really. It sort have helped give me more direction to me in a career sense and what my next steps are. I think I’ve become more aware of my mental and physical health. Lockdowns been a rollercoaster but think I’ve come out with a better ability to self reflect.

Credits: Marcus Smith

Any advice for Lomographers from all over the world?

Don’t be afraid to experiment and to try new methods out. Learn about stuff, anything! Because that can be a source of inspiration for a new project. Also, remember DON’T RUSH! Take a breath before taking that photo and try to slow that moment down to make the time to take the best photo you can. Think about composition, the colour, the narrative. Finally, just enjoy it, you started taking photos not because it stressed you out but because you enjoyed it.


We would like to thank all the photographers who contributed their photo stories for this series. You can read the rest here: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

2020-07-20 #quarantine

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