"If the house of the world is dark,
Love will find a way to create windows."
It seems as if life went on hold those past few weeks – for everyone. I am always straddling my two cultures and identities, as a Lebanese/Palestinian and as an American. It feels as if the news is always dividing us as "them vs. us", and now here we are a "we": all in this together, in the same boat, with life at a standstill and reduced to the confinement of home. This virus is such an equalizer, making us all re-evaluate our shared humanity, our fragility, and our priorities.
Isolation and confinement offered me the gift of time at home with my family, and in the studio with my work. I had almost forgotten how precious both are. With time and space to re-evaluate what matters, and with a need for human interaction, I reached out to a few friends and started visiting them – while keeping the physical distancing – and making their portraits through the window. A new project about "connecting across barriers" emerged. From a few friends at first, the circle kept growing. It humbled me how many people were willing to be part of this, but also how important the human interaction we often took for granted, was – for both of us on either side of the window and of the camera. Despite the fact that we only communicated across a physical barrier, we really and truly made a connection. The sense of being inside or outside was blurred. I am outside and looking in, but seeing the outside reflected onto the person in front of me. Depending on where I stood, we could even overlap, connecting us on many levels, metaphorically and personally despite the physical barrier between us.
As the weeks went by and the "new normal" settled in, the portraits started transforming with the window almost acting like a stage and people on the inside becoming active participants in the photo session, bringing their ideas and their performances to the interaction we were creating.
This work is in progress.
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