First self-isolation period in France began on Monday March 16, 2020, which is exactly two days before my birthday. All restaurants, cafes, beauty salons and all shops but groceries were closed. It sounded like a jail sentence.
Every day spent in voluntary isolation, in my apartment on the 5th floor, I tried to stay productive as much as possible and want to share my observations.
When I received an offer to participate in this project "We stay at home", I did not have any ideas for creating an image that would characterize the period of self-isolation.
The first thing that came to mind was to show people in masks looking out the window with hope. What emotions can a person experience who has been deprived of the "freedom" to leave the house? At first - fear, panic faced with an unknown "enemy" also known as Covid-19.
After two weeks of isolation, when everyone understood the inevitability of the situation and accepted reality, I began to have creative ideas.
I wanted to be original and come up with my own way of expression, different from others.
Every evening at 20:00, people came out to their balconies to applaud the medical workers and everyone who had to work these days and risk their health, and maybe life.
Every day I came out on the balcony to support all with my applause. It was a very solemn action, a special atmosphere that gave all people faith in the best and charged them with positivity for the whole day. During this time, I got to know many neighbours in my house and in the house opposite. We began to communicate and offer each other help if necessary.
For a while there was a feeling of one big and friendly family. Moral support is very important at a time like this, and I felt creative inspiration to photograph people around me at that time. My son lives and works in London, and we didn't have the opportunity to be united. He was also in a lockdown and worked online without leaving his home. We supported each other morally in online correspondence.
My neighbor, Jean Pierre, who is always very polite, cultured, elegant and well-mannered, loves to travel. He made several round-the-world cruises and told me a lot about his travels. It was very difficult for him to be at home without movement. One day I saw him not being shaved, which is completely unusual for him, I felt how sad he was and the idea came to me to make several portraits of him two weeks apart, during the entire period of isolation.
I offered him my idea, to show isolation through the emotional, depressive state of a successful person, who eventually lost the desire to shave, be elegant, to whom life lost its colours and became black and white. He kindly agreed, although we did not fully understand how all this state of mind can be shown in one portrait.
I would call this a chronological portrait. It contains the whole story of the entire period of self-isolation in 55 days.
ALLA SOKOLOVA, France, Antibes