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Creating beauty in lockdown and my thoughts on the duality of isolation

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“We must begin to see the negative space as clearly as the positive, to know what we don’t do is also brilliant and full of love”, wrote Poet Anne Boyer.

How well this phrase translates to creativity during social isolation.

Time unhinged from its normal framework, and space constrained to one’s home, this is a period of creative ambivalence: the concept that negative space, as expressed by lack of human connection, and deprivation of creative resources – can, and will, lead to something positive.

For me, just like with so many others, my “lockdown world” has shrunk to a unitary universe – that of my other half, my wife. In moments, during this lockdown, I have loved my little universe with an intensity that is new to me.

This photoshoot of her as my muse is my most meaningful photography session to date, because it took place at a time when creating art felt like the most powerful balm amid corona claustrophobia. The result was a delicate photoshoot that reflected two decidedly intimate states of mind: the melancholic calmness caused by isolation, and simultaneously, the deep devotion and connection towards the one I share isolation with.

Imagination is unleashed by constraints and innovation is a creative person’s response to limitation. Under normal circumstances, as an editorial photographer I have the privilege of working with accomplished stylists and designers. Forcing myself to be fully involved purposefully and personally, was a lesson in authenticity, connection and courage. In absence of a gown, I foraged Queen Anne’s Lace wildflowers and created a top for my muse by glueing it on her back with the only thing available as skin glue: glucose syrup. I also created an ethereal skirt using some spare tule. What had attracted me to Queen Anne’s flowers was their delicate, lace-like feature, and at the same time, the toxiferous beauty of their blooms. 

Indeed, just like in the case of these blooms, the corona crisis is filled with duality: as Anne Boyer wrote, there can be positives in the negatives; there can be abundance of possibilities in limitations. Deep connection can be found in seclusion. There is eloquence in silence! And the mighty force that makes all this possible is none else but… love!

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