March 2020: Pandemic Project

The day we decided to quarantine was Friday, March 13th, 2020. Jeff and Zach had gone skiing in Vail a few days earlier when suddenly the world as we knew it started to fold in on itself. One day they were out skiing, having drinks at a local watering hole and the next, the mountain shut down, Vail suddenly identified as a hotspot.

Emma and I, at home, decided to take the cues from Fauci and company and begin our own sheltering in place with the rest of the country. This was something big and scary and I knew we were living history and I knew from past experience with Emma being sick that I was going to need to take some kind of control in the form of keeping track of this experience.

I knew it had to be daily and I knew it had to be doable. I had been playing around with image and words and it came to me. I would set boundaries for myself in the form of one photo a day accompanied by the number of words according to what day it was. So for day 1, I wrote one word. Day 2, I wrote two words and so on.

As I write this, it is Day 331:  February 9th. Yes, 331 days living this pandemic life and all of its trials, tribulations, celebrations and shifts. I never in my wildest thought I would reach this number durning this project and still it seems it will continue on and on. I never knew what I would do with it, if anything. I started this as a healing tool for myself to process and understand what it was we were experiencing.

And today I realized I needed to share this as a way for others to possibly document their experiences and am asking some of my graduate students to start and compose their own projects for 30 days.

It doesn’t matter when you start, just start. There is something very powerful about trying to capture new images with so much that is the same and the words…they came easily in the beginning, but now I struggle to hit that over 200 word mark. I have discovered a real niche in 200 words…a comfort zone for me. I love reading back through to see how much the same things are while at the same time realizing how different they are as well.

For me it is a meditative, purposeful, creatively energetic practice in acknowledgement of this moment in time, that has gotten me through. I invite any and all to give it a go and tap into that creative energy that lives and breathes inside of you. All you need is a phone or camera and your voice. Enjoy!

Day One: Self Quarantine, Friday March 13th

Not because we have any symptoms, but because we see it as an act of social solidarity.
A person sitting on a table

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Day Two:  Saturday, March 14th

A plate of food with broccoli

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Small Control.

Day 3:  March 15th

A store inside of a building

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A glass door of a store window

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Chillingly naked voids.

Day 4:  March 16th

A person standing in a field

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Working on the run.

Day 5:  March 17th

A picture containing outdoor, grass, old, photo

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Who am I without other people?

Day 6:  March 18th

A person holding a dog on a beach

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Hidden truth lurks in six feet.

Day 7:  March 19

A large brown dog lying on a sofa

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The days go on and on and…

Day 8:  March 20th

A screen shot of a computer

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Teachers meeting has begun, time for some-zoom fun.

Day 9:  March 21st

A large tree in a field

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Lessons from the trees. Social distancing, the new norm. 

Day 10:  March 22

A picture containing outdoor, grass, blue, field

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Abandoned.  What was once playful is now fraught with danger.

Day 11:  March 23rdA picture containing outdoor, grass, nature, track

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It’s lurking on every corner, on every person, on every breath.

Day 12:  March 24th

A car covered in snow

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WE ARE RESTLESS…losing it, playing in snow like children to survive.

Day 13:  March 25th 

A sign on the side of a building

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She charges at me like times are normal.  Space invaders now worst enemies.

Day 14:  March 26th

A computer sitting on top of a table

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Sunlamp, liquid vitaminD or the real deal…changes the course of another day.  #perpetualsunseeker

Day 15:  March 27th

A group of people sitting at a table

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Living in the greys, seeking comfort in the crevices of a homemade Italian-live-jazz with Brooklyn’s-own-Henry-Zwaan-on-keyboard.

Day 16 :  March 28th

A picture containing table, indoor, sitting, wooden

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New Job Description:  daily raffles manager:  book-finder, photographer, content creator, packager, stamper, mailer, wash, rinse, repeat…

Day 17:  March 29th

A brown and white dog lying on the ground

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When in doubt, turn to the furry friends for comfort, solace and yes, another freakin’ damned walk!

Day 18:  March 30th

A picture containing indoor, sitting, small, white

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Dark and dreary dreadful Monday morning dreaming of days in Venice when all-was-right and we didn’t even know it.

Day 19:  March 31st

A group of people standing in a kitchen preparing food

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Moving forward, suspended.   Daily rituals, future blurred.  Grateful 

Joyful, terrified.  Life, Death.  Invisibly visible. Too many dichotomies to count.

3 thoughts on “March 2020: Pandemic Project

  1. I am loving doing this project– finding a photo, writing a word. I notice in yours that the wording, whether one or seventeen words is poetry– even the questions you write. And somehow, the feeling comes through in the combination of photo and words. I am wondering where my words will go as the days move (I was going to write “drag” on) on? Is there a theme or focus or idea I am trying to convey through this pandemic with these photos and words? Is it random, scattered– often like some days when I wander the house trying to make the day worthwhile– always thinking something must be accomplished.

  2. I wish I had started this at the beginning of the pandemic! I think so much of this year my brain was on auto pilot, and looking through your month of March, Tomasen, I see so many memories documented. These are small moments, but unique and full stories are behind each. I find myself trying to trace back through the photos I did take over the course of the year to jog my memory of some of the more singular moments that did occur, instead of looking through the “giant blur” filter that I sometimes find myself slapping on 2020.

    This first week of my own project, I tried to be casual with the moments I captured and wrote about. Some were more thought out than others, one was a photo I had shared with a friend, but by the end of the week I realized they all had something in common- none of them included the people I’ve been with. I think a focus on rituals last week had me subconsciously seeking out moments or things I ground myself in. Looking forward to seeing what compiles!

  3. These are so powerful. It’s been strange this week though because…I think I have a mental block that my posts are boring…but I think it’s just because this has become the new “norm.” So, part of me is like…who cares about my Zoom call…but this isn’t normal. I think the day to day life of a pandemic might be fascinating to people down the line, so I feel like I just have to get over my own self-consciousness.

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