Recently so much has changed in our world. When I say this I truly mean “our whole world” as in our planet Earth as a whole. Never before in our lifetime has an event had so much impact on the whole planet. Often, we make or hear statements about “our whole world changing” and it never really means the whole planet. The Covid-19 crisis has changed so much so fast. Like any critical and tragic event, it takes time for the full impact to set it and be fully realized.
Just the other night I was laying down to sleep and like most people I had various thoughts going through my head as I prepare to end my day for a good night’s sleep. Ha… “a good night’s sleep” is hard to come about these days. As I’m laying in bed waiting for sleep to come my mind is racing through many things. I latch onto the thought of “the planet has changed as a whole” and was truly thinking about it. Sure, we had the 9/11 terror attacks and there was the big tsunami but, this virus crisis is beyond that. And as sleep is coming, I just don’t feel safe and sound in my bed. Sure, my doors are locked and I live in a safe neighborhood but, I still worry about my wife who goes to work each and every day out in the public, I think of other family and friends who are working with the public during this time of virus crisis. I do not personally know anyone who has died from the Corona virus however, I have several friends who know someone who has died, my wife lost a co-worker just yesterday and I just feel it is only a matter of time before someone I personally know will be taken. … I hope I’m wrong.
I pick up on this same bedtime thought after I wake the next morning and I’m dissecting it. Asking myself the question; will things ever be the same? The reality is “no” things will never go back to the way they were before and this is not the first time in history that an event has changed the world as a whole. I was also wrong to think that this was the first time a huge impactful event changed the world in my lifetime. We have cell phones or as they are called today “smart phones” and what about the internet. Both of these have changed the world and there is no going back to the way it used to be. Even if you threw away your smart phone and stopped using the internet you would only be changing your personal world, the little micro chasm that is you as a person.
I think back to my feeling the night before and how I didn’t feel safe, it is actually hard to describe. I guess the best way to describe it is to say that it is just another thing to not feel safe about. We all now have to live with this thought that an unseen force known as the Corona virus is out there lurking. Much as I feel safe with my doors locked and I live in a low crime area… who knows an intruder could break in to my house in the middle of the night and rob and or kill me and my family. Highly unlikely but it does happen, even in a safe neighborhood. So, Covid-19 is just another “not likely” situation but, none the less it is always there.
Then I start to ponder… ok, so if this is not the first global change in my lifetime what is different about Covid-19 compared to other events. I mean after all this virus is killing people. Sure, in the news we see the reporters contrast Covid-19 to the yearly flu cycle (global) and others will put it up against the opioid crisis (specific to certain countries).
In my example I used non-lethal examples such as mobile phone and the internet… and now that I think about the mobile phone did bring about the “texting and driving” epidemic that kills several thousand people each year and maims hundreds of thousands. As for the internet… who knows. Although there are more teen suicides due to cyber bulling. However, any example that is put up against Covid-19, be it more or less in death, nothing has taken the world as rapidly.
As a photographer I have been documenting the changes the virus crisis has made in daily life in my local and surrounding communities. Part of the changes include safe practices like covering our faces and social distancing however; other changes are for the most part pure idiocy and downright unreal. Things such as not being able to take a small boat on the river to enjoy a day of fishing or to not be able to buy a pack of seeds to plant flowers or vegetables for a garden. For me the biggest thing is to not be able to go for a walk or a hike in the forest. The governor of New Jersey closed all parks and while I understand some of the thinking behind the decision it was painted with too broad a brush. Yes, there are large parks in populated areas where people gather in masses even before the virus crisis, there are still other open spaces and preserves that never see masses of people. Trails that run deep into the forests such as the ones I like to frequent fell under this decision and my fun was taken away. If you complain about this closure you are deemed “selfish and inconsiderate” to others. The idea that you may bring unwanted harm in the way of giving someone Covid-19. But I can still go to a liquor store, buy alcohol, get drunk and kill someone by way of driving drunk. Yes, the liquor store is open but, the churches are closed. You can’t fish from a boat on the river and you are not allowed to walk through a forest.
To stay somewhat sane through this whole mess I have still continued to venture out for photography and also now capturing video as well. I can honestly say that I’m doing this in the name of “work” and I of course am practicing social distancing and wearing a mask and shooting with a long lens while doing so.
In this time of virus crisis, the photography business in pretty much nil as in nothing. So, I have turned to looking for editing work online. There used to be a time when photographers had agents to help find them work. Now that is a rather old and antiquated way of finding work. Today there are online agencies where work can be found from literally all over the globe. So, there I sit at the PC searching through the postings and constantly refreshing the page in hopes of catching the latest posting before someone else does. Then once landing a job I am off and running into photoshop to cut a model out of a background for a clothing dealer in India who is selling garments on Amazon and at the same time watching the posting feed to catch another job of fixing a pimple on a headshot for someone to post to their Linkedin profile. I can’t complain because it is work but just in a way I’m not used to.
My mind drifts back to just two weeks ago when I was out hiking with my cameras and thinking how I had found an escape. Even if just a for a few hours, being able to go hiking through a forest where I was the only person there, I was in “the unchanged world.” In fact that is what I titled the video I shot that day “Unchanged World.” Then the parks and open space closures came and changed that world too.
Then after a week or so of that I had had enough and I decided that I would find a way to get out and shoot.
To be continued…