As someone who’s trying to get more into street photography, these aren’t exactly the best of times.
So… what to do? Put away the camera until this whole thing blows over?
It’s time to fall back to my old 365 project instincts and training.
The joys of a 365 project mostly centred around watching the quality of my imagery improve over the year, as my inner photographer’s visual and creative muscles got a daily workout. At least that’s the idea. After the initial excitement of starting a 365 project (usually a few weeks in), an underlying state of anxiety (dread?) builds.
“What am I going to shoot today?”
“But I never left the house… the weather’s crap, I was working all day, I didn’t see/do anything interesting.”
“Oh, shit! It’s 5 minutes to midnight and I haven’t made my daily photo! Damn it!”
If you’ve ever done a 365project (I’ve successfully done 4, tried to do 6) you know exactly how this feels.
Shooting in the age of coronavirus isn’t really much different than doing a 365. It’s all about tuning your eye to find beauty—or at least visual interest—in the everyday, in the mundane. In what you’ve got lying around the house.
Enjoying the interplay of light and shadow. Making the most of what you’ve got. Learning new techniques.
I thought I would have tons of time to blog, make photos around the house, start organizing my out-of-control photo albums, learn some new skills on YouTube and do all those other cool things that the newly housebound are (or rather boast they are) doing.
No such luck.
I cannot complain—work is keeping me busier than ever—but as someone who pretty much always works from home all the time anyhow, nothing’s really changed in terms of day-to-day routine. What has changed dramatically is life outside the house. The local parks, community centres, schoolyards and shops are all but deserted.
It’s almost like a season of The Leftovers on HBO, but with less people (outside).
These days, going outside is fraught with peril, especially if you don’t keep your distance.
It’s a good thing we’re keeping it all in the family.
If there’s any good to come out of this coronavirus business, is that it’s getting us all out to take walks more often than we ever did before. Even Victor, notorious around the house for never leaving his room, was able to be coaxed outside for a stroll on the weekend.
Things started getting “real” here in Ottawa on Friday the 13th (coincidence? I think not!) when the organization that runs the national museums announced that all federally-operated museums in Ottawa (and across Canada, for that matter) were shutting down “until further notice” due to COVID-19.
Then the dominoes really started to fall.
Shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, cinemas and other establishments announced they were closing shop in an effort to protect employees and clientèle from this unseen menace.
While Danielle and I have been working from home all week, actually busier than ever, my son got a layoff notice from Landmark Theaters where he works as an usher.
Until further notice.
My daughter works at a supermarket as a deli clerk. Her job is safe, for now at least. Safe as in job security, not safe as in away from the front lines. Although we’re not thrilled with her going out like that, her employer has really stepped up the sanitizing and other measures to keep the working environment as clean and safe as possible. Since she works as a deli clerk, she’s already separated from customers by a 2m wide display case; it’s probably the safest job in there. Groceries are an essential service, and she feels pride in doing her part through these trying times.
… to the National Gallery of Canada
… now go away.
It’s nice to see this employer doing the right thing and pledging to pay its employees for the two weeks they shut down. Now let’s just hope they actually open on the 28th; colour me skeptical.
If you were to look up “nonessential business” in the dictionary…
I wonder when they’ll really be hiring again.
Normally, this parking lot would be pretty busy. But… Mandarin is a giant all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant (ah-choo!), Reitmans is operated by the same folks as Penningtons (see above), and 95% of Houle Sports’ business is hockey equipment. It’s gonna be wide-open space for a while, methinks.
Living the GoodLife
Normally this place is PACKED on Saturday mornings: yoga classes, spinning classes, circuit training, dozens and dozens of treadmills… I wonder how their patrons are staying active.
Up until this past week, I was the only one working from home in this house. I used to have the run of the place for most of the weekday… now that’s changing. I’m going to be using this humble blog to start documenting life around the house as we muddle through these extraordinary times.
There’s that old Chinese “curse” my dad taught me when I was a kid:
May you live in interesting times
I had no idea it was apocryphal when I learned the expression oh so many years ago; dad probably didn’t either. Let’s face it: he didn’t have Snopes or Wikipedia or a myriad other tools at his fingertips to fact-check the saying. If he did, he would have found out that this “curse” was nothing more than the end-result of a game of broken telephone.
That was fake news, I guess.
Are these ever interesting times. Social isolation is the new watchword; schools have been closed, mass gatherings are banned, travel has reduced to a trickle, and we’re all being told to work from home, until this contagion passes.
We’ll get through this—we always do—and perhaps a new normal will emerge.
It’s time to hunker down and make the most of life around the house. When the light is right, what more can you ask for?