COVID-19 has affected all aspects of our lives. We understand the need for seclusion, having to practice social distancing and self-isolating. It is crucial to decrease the velocity of the virus spread, but it also can affect us psychologically. The most common feeling faced by all is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear for our loved ones. It makes us anxious, sad, raged and panicky. Therefore I decided to make portraits with people carrying an inspiring and deep message: the project, called “50 WORDS – 100 PHOTOS” made during the lockdown in Zürich is intended to provoke reflections with people who carry different stories and from diverse backgrounds in this chaotic moment.
On black and white portraits, I chose 50 people with admirable stories and messages to the world during this pandemic time. They are a mix of different cultures, languages and biotypes. I´ve asked for each person to bring me a word that could portray this lockdown moment in their mother language.
For those who didn’t have a mask, I’ve asked them to use their creativity and make their own. I took 2 photos from each person: the first was supposed to show them wearing a mask and concentrated on what they were feeling at this moment. And the second, wearing no mask and expressing their feeling, pretenting that the pandemic time is over and they are free again. Their body language and expression changed completely from one picture to another.
I heard beautiful stories while photographing these people in my room. The work started on 22.04.2020 and with all studios closed we had several restrictions for sessions. It was more than 2 months only for the photo shooting. Their professions were the most varied, from electrician to artist, to entrepreneurs and CEOs. It didn’t matter to me about color, status, sexual preference or race. We are all facing something new, mysterious, without cure and that has spread to every corner of the planet. The important thing was to portray people’s moment and feeling.
This project is aligned with my dream, my passion, my vision of a better world. That is why I wanted to use my art as a form of expressing all the possible feelings that one image can created in people’s mind and heart. I hope to create empathy and awake the kind of human being we have always dreamed of: supportive, collaborative, carrying, relearning how to love even being apart.
Although the COVID-19 has taken unimaginable proportions, taking away lives and the hope of many, it also had provided an opportunity once never thought before: made strangers connect themselves in order to help and reheat their heart.
The project has 100 photos taken from 50 people, with 22 different nationalities, with 50 different words in 2 different moments.
It will be a photo exhibition with interactive videos, a urban projection in several buildings all over the world, a documentary book with a story about the confinement and some details about the people who participated in the project and last but not least some street art actions in Barcelona, Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Lisbon, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo.
Do you want to know more about this project? Visit my profile on Instagram: @portrait_and_poetry and leave a comment.