Thanks again to all who participated in this ongoing lockdown project!
At this time, when ‘physical distancing’ has become a daily used term, what kind of an impact has this had on us all? Those of us who are used to being with other people on a daily basis, the extroverts who thrive with social contact, the teenagers who miss the daily get togethers that fill their day with purpose, and even the introverts, how are we dealing with the new normal under Covid-19 lockdown?
The concept of ‘human connection’ is taking on a new meaning and invites a new definition, so I put out the challenge this time to my photographer friends to come up with words and images to go with their new understanding of human connections. Here below is the work we did.
Two months ago, lockdown began as a precaution for the Covid-19 pandemic in Germany. I had to find a creative way to change the way that my busy and very active photography meetup group of over 2000 members meets and keeps on finding inspiration.
So the photographing a concept came to life. The first idea was to invite everyone to try and photograph ‘hope’. The results (photographs and words to go with them were sent to me and we had a short zoom meeting afterwards to reflect on the process and share the work). I had no idea what would happen. To my surprise the process caught on immediately and attracted people from outside the group who saw the posting on facebook. The results were so inspiring to me and the process has kept us all busy week after week (we are up to project 5 by now). I will be sharing the presentations from each of these here starting with ‘hope’.
This is day on of lockdown in Germany where we are currently living after the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and life has never been more interesting.
Suddenly there is space, and at first, you feel like you don’t know what to do with all this time, you feel restless like you are forgetting something, an errand, you need to do, a doctor’s appointment, a meeting, something… and then you realise that you need to stop.
And once you feel settled to that fact and you delete all the appointments in your calendar, it starts to dawn on you that something is shifting, onsetting, happening in a big way, seen and unseen that is bringing the whole world to a halt. And you listen very carefully, you hear the planet breathing a sigh of relief.
Manufacturing has stopped, planes are stopping, trains, cars, football games, concerts, events, all the things that allow you to feel lost in the crowd and all of a sudden there is a large mirror facing each one of us.
How will we spend our time now? Will we panic watching the alarmist news? Will we take long unhurried walks in the forest? It is Spring here after all. Will we learn something new? Or much better even, will we take the opportunity to do our much needed dwelling on the meaning of life that we had put aside all these years due to our rushed and busy lives?
What a great opportunity this is. Humans working together to combat an undiscriminating and common threat to all. How do we battle this with our humanity intact? Will we take the time to reconnect to the most basic truth of our connection to our amazing planet and its natural laws? And what about the intensifying and onsetting future? Are we ready to meet it?
In the last few days as we hurriedly tried to get ready for lockdown, I saw scared and worried faces everywhere and a big chunk of confusion and concern, which caused me to be kinder than normal to others along the way. As I let a person pass in front of me on the line, stopped the car for a pedestrian, waved and smiled at a stranger, I realised with great delight that a small act of kindness is going a much longer way than ever before. People are glowing because of it and that caused me to understand that in situations like these, humanity thrives, values are resurrected and the future has a chance…
As 2020 unfolds, it leaves us all stunned as we try to grasp the magnitude of what really is at play in these changing times. Clearly things have no chance of remaining the same in a new intensifying state of affairs that forces even the most arrogant of us humans to stop, reassess and reconsider their role in the fate of humanity on earth. It is later than we think…
Stay safe my friends as we calmly and hopefully with grace and strength we weather the storms of tomorrow.
Above photos are recent compositions inspired by the current times.
The fear of being alone~ we all have it to some extent, the great anxiety that we will have no one to share our moments with, good or bad, the whole time forgetting that we are born alone and we die alone.
Maybe we should take a moment everyday to enjoy, value and make use of our own company, learning to meet and know ourselves a little better.
I once practiced a month of silence and discovered among many things that there was so much to be learned inside of the human complex I learned to call ”me”.
Europe loves its Christmas Markets, the festive mood, the warm drinks cuddled by cold hands, the delicious smells of roasted almonds and the magical lights that chase away the darkness of winter. From the first advent till the winter solstice, people try to spend as much time as possible out in the markets calling on hope, warmth and light to comfort them through the long hard winters.
In the last 2 weeks I went with my camera and some fellow photographers chasing the Christmas spirit from Valkenburg in the Netherlands to Duesseldorf and then today to magical Cologne.
The seasons have a magical way of easing us into the inescapable reality that time passes and waits for no one. Before the grey starkness of winter, we are flooded by a gush of warm color to keep us hopeful for the coming of spring. Nature is the best artist.
When I examine my days carefully, looking for moments of peace, of clarity, of calm and reflective processes, I realize that almost always, these are moments of being alone. I remember in my early twenties when I went to India for the first time and tried out a month long silence, the most surprising result of that was the realization that we are never really alone. So much goes on in our minds and faculty when we are alone, that we find ourselves able to understand ourselves so much better and to stand under the reality of our situation at any given moment. A day spent without any ‘me’ time is a day not enjoyed fully. I do not exaggerate when I say that I rarely ever feel lonely when I am alone. There is a huge difference between the 2 states. What is loneliness really? Could it be the fear of getting to know ourselves? I love my own company and have loved it since I was a young child. This makes me value time with others in a different way and in turn makes me more selective of who I share time with. It is such a valuable commodity in a most certainly mortal life.
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