I guess I'm not the only one who believed in 2020 and all its goodies, but genie is insidious and you should be careful with your wishes. With no doubt, it became a special one.
30 days passed since I'm at home embracing isolation. The same person next to me, same objects around, same view out of window, and plenty of new ways of seeing them. You cannot distract yourself from time flow now. With nights becoming shorter and days meaningless spring faded in surprisingly unnoticed. An itchy urge to move some objects, I pulled out our couch to balcony and books are still waiting on the shelf. Hunger is different than before it tickles intestine, gives me a feeling of presence. Each day I try to prolong it at least till 2PM. Could those cigarettes be less tasty between sips of coffee on an empty stomach at noon? I will not forget you 2020, indeed you are The Special.
Dragoș Lumpan, Bucharest
The Soap Bubbles series has been photographed from the balcony of the apartment where I have been living for seven years. Before this I had a place near Cișmigiu Park, where I took many photos from my window. When I moved here, by IOR Park, though, I decided to quit that habit. I managed to keep off it for seven years. But the staying at home and Petruț Călinescu’s invitation forced me to take it up again. I thought of trying another kind of photography: using a camera with high sensitivity to low light and a very, very long lens. Since I didn’t have anything like that, I spoke with F64, who supported me in making this series with a Sony α 7S II, a Sigma 150-600mm lens and a 2x teleconverter – thank you!
Bogdan Tutuneanu, Bucharest
Isolation has given me the time to finish research for my ongoing projects and edit the visual diary I’ve been keeping since 2014.
When the quarantine started, I and my girlfriend Laura started to keep a text-and-picture diary, out of a need to find some sort of balance in this period. I started on the 21nd of March, and she started on the 22nd; we write in the same notebook. I wanted to sort of break free from the dark mood I had sunk in, full of uncertainty, fear and constantly reading nothing but the news in an unending string of tabs opened in my browser. It wasn’t the first time I saw photography as a form of therapy. Though the grounds were more than familiar, I tried to get a fresh outlook on the time spent around the house, in the little garden by our apartment block or on our short evening walks around the neighbourhood.
Ioana Cîrlig, Alba
Much like everyone else’s, my plans for research and travel have been postponed for who knows when. So I narrowed my focus and started to take a closer look at life around my home for this period. I take photos of the plants in the garden, on the hills and in the forests around the house.
Tudor Platon, Bucharest
Wrestling with the Angel
“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
Isolated in my apartment, I keep thinking back to these verses from Genesis, because I see us forced to give up the fight for the survival of the body, to give up outer fears and return to ourselves, to our homes, to our souls – to everything within.
We have been staying at home since March 13th. I don’t think we have more complaints or reasons for discomfort regardint this isolation than other families. We’re fine, we haven’t started to hate each other’s guts yet. We live in a rented apartment which, in the ad, flaunted ambitions of being a three-room place, when the situation on the ground is closer to just-over-two. We only leave it once every three or four days, to get food and beer. We split our time between homework, our cat, and our screens. I don’t dare imagine what it would have been like without any of them. Well, maybe there is one of us who could very easily drop the homework part. We are Mihai (40), Oana (38), Vladimir (9), and Tom the Cat (5).
Remus Tiplea, Negrești
In Oaș Land, (Northern part of Romania) the social distance measures have been taken very seriously, with very few exceptions. Around midday, streets become deserted, while those who have the legal right to go to work tend to their business quietly.
Petruț Călinescu, Bucharest
At first I thought this isolation, which I expected not to last that long, would be the perfect chance for me to finish some of the work I had been putting off. Obviously, my cihldren made their own parallel plan, which involved spending every single minute with us, their parents. It didn’t work out, neither for them nor for me. Apart from school, evenings out for drinks with friends and family trips have also moved to the online environment. I take a break from the energy outburst from home each evening, with a solitary walk around the neighbourhood, where I find everything eerily quiet, as if under water.
Cosmin Bumbuț, Aldeia de Santa Margarida, Portugalia
The pandemic caught us in Portugal, while we were working on our projects on Romanians living abroad. During the state of emergency, we found shelter in the olive orchard of a Romanian monastery. I often think of how lucky I am not to be cooped up in an apartment in Bucharest and what a chance it is to be able to photograph people during isolation. I’ve documented life at the monastery during Holy Week and taken photos of the monks.
I attach here a mini-series that falls into the journal/essay category, beginning with a photo from the last longer walk I took, in late March – a picture taken out the window, a few photos of my daughter (I’ve been spending the whole quarantine time between #workfromhome in the kitchen and #bonding with my daughter), in which I caught her in various authentic poses or we experimented together with various settings in which we started a sort of photographic dialogue on how we see each ther. The last one is taken by Ale, in an attempt to reproduce Photoshop’s splash screen. In the end, isolation brings us closer to our family – unless we spiral out of control – and to what matters most in our lives.
Editor: Petrut Calinescu/ CdFD