It was the beginning of new year, 2020, and mankind faced one of the biggest challenges in terms of the coronavirus pandemic. Our lives changed in terms of everything. Most parts of the world were under lockdown as a part of preventive measures against the disease. In India too, the government adopted the policy of a countrywide lockdown in March 2020. We had work from home and few others were just idle awaiting the saga to end. I used my time with my camera seeing what my family was doing in these difficult days. As a street photographer I have read that ‘pictures are around us, we need an eye to capture them.’ I experienced this at home. This project is a series of images taken exclusively at my home in Ahmedabad, India and the subjects are my family members in their candid daily chores to beat the lockdown. These are people who we meet daily, who we live with and spend time with; but never photograph with a purpose. So, I made up my mind to continue this project as long as the lockdown continues.
Initially, the images were limited to portraits and family members being more conscious and aware in front of lens. With a daily activity of carrying a camera with me around the house almost entire day, this made a lot of difference. They were at ease with being photographed. This experience has made me learn to visit a place again and again and trying to see objects and people around in a different way. It has somewhat changed my style of composition. I feel before taking an image. I will discuss images in a sequence as I have named them.
Top Image – This is an image of my wife wiping her face with her hand to beat the heat of a summer eve. It was during the third phase of lockdown and summer here is at its peak. I was standing on the balcony to see the sunset and trying to find good light to capture the lady. With flash on and shutter speed 1/6, I just moved my camera a bit to include the motion of hand moving with great hues behind. Exif – F9.5, iso low 0.3, focal length 28mm prime lens on a Nikon D750 camera.
The only learning which one has to cultivate during the coronavirus pandemic is taking care of our hands at home and elsewhere. The washbasin is the most visited part of the home. I found this mirror and raised my hand to capture a self portrait which included the show piece of home at the top and sanitizer and soap as the limbs. Exif – F2.8, iso 2000, shutter speed 1/90, focal length 28mm prime lens on a Nikon D750 camera, no flash used.
Each family member tried to pass the day in their own way. My daughter was riding her toy-scooter and when she took some rest with her hands on the steering wheel, I saw both sides of the activities happening behind her. Also, I loved the homes at the far background which looked closed and old as if being locked for months. Exif – F6.7, iso 900, shutter speed 1/350, focal length 28mm prime lens on a Nikon D750 camera, no flash used.
Old television series were being broadcasted each day to entertain Indian people. Some involved mythology and some old social issues. My father was having his meal while watching one of the tv shows. I saw the expression of the artist on screen as if she is in grief of being not able to access the food from there. This image I feel to be reality of lockdown era, where on one side of society people having enough to eat and other side in developing countries the struggle for basics is more important than coronavirus lockdown. Exif – F8, iso 3600, shutter speed 1/180, focal length 28mm prime lens on a Nikon D750 camera,no flash used.
Being with nature. With empty roads and no schools or work, these days are the best to stay with nature. I felt the same when my little one daily started watering the plant. I was waiting for some person or object to move down the road and one final evening the picture was done. Exif – F8, iso 450, shutter speed 1/125, focal length 35mm prime lens on a Nikon D750 camera, no flash used.
Social distancing. Talking with friends and relatives over phone is a routine these days. I saw my wife talking holding the wires of hands-free, and on the road a scooter with two people riding. Also the direction sign on road made the image so dramatic. Exif – F13, iso 5000, shutter speed 1/500, focal length 50mm prime lens on a Nikon D750 camera, no flash used.
Free at home. I always felt the birds mural on the wall in my room had a great sense of freedom. My kid was jumping around and my wife trying to catch hold of her. Arms apart and hand movements with the graffiti on wall and a horse jumping on my little girl’s t-shirt made my picture. I tried a different technique of firing a flash and slow shutter. Exif – F9.5, iso 1000, shutter speed 1/8, focal length 28mm prime lens on a Nikon D750 camera, flash used.
Tea time. Family members, each in their own mood during an evening tea time. The hand movements and expressions is what I tried to capture. Exif – F8, iso 7200, shutter speed 1/125, focal length 28mm prime lens on a Nikon D750 camera, no flash used.
Lockdown face. I was imagining if lockdown had a face, the expressions after looking to the people following the norms imposed would be what is this image. This image is a staged image. I was jumbling with objects and food in kitchen and finally made this up. Exif – F3.3, iso 1250, shutter speed 1/15, focal length 28mm prime lens on a Nikon D750 camera, no flash used.
Hope. Mankind has emerged as the fittest to survive. This image of hope as sunrays, woman keeping all the baggage of emotions and thoughts on shoulder is the picture of humans looking forward for a better tomorrow. Exif – F1.9, iso 40, shutter speed 1/310, focal length 4mm prime lens on a Samsung, no flash used.