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The New Normal

These photos were taken when we were first in lockdown and helped and I was completely overwhelmed and scared. In one of my classes at the UvA we were allowed to turn in a creative paper rather than a normal analysis. So I decided to utilize the photo series for this purpose. I have included a condensed version of the paper explaining the series. I feel that presenting the photos as a group gives one a sense of the enormity of the pandemic. #uva

The New Normal

The walls of my privileged, safe, Western life have crumbled around me. Life, as I know it, has been cancelled. There will be no concerts, events, going out for a meal, going on vacations, meeting friends for coffee, enjoying a museum, no displays of affection, and the list goes on and on. My “normal” has been redefined. In its place is anxiety, uncertainty, and an eerie calm. I can no longer turn a blind eye to the problems of the world and think to myself, ‘Oh those poor people’ and go on with my merry life. The stripping away of my privileges has been a tough process. I have had to look into the proverbial mirror and reassess my life.

What I find especially difficult to reconcile is the beautiful silence and the peacefulness of life in lockdown, while in reality, Covid-19 is wreaking havoc all around the world. This invisible, destructive virus has caused a pandemic that none of us can escape. It has unleashed misery in ways we cannot begin to comprehend. The pandemic has created a chasm between our own experiences of precariousness and the precariousness situations experienced by others. In other words, even though we are all experiencing the pandemic, and each country is dealing with it in its own manner, we all experience the pandemic differently. The distribution of the precarious experiences we are living through glaringly amplifies the chasm between the wealthy West and the countries on the periphery. The pandemic not only exposes the chasm between the haves and the have nots, but also exposes the differences between the wealthy, poor, illegal, and informal workers of all countries.I have documented my experiences of the Covid-19 crisis through a photographic project, which is named the New Normal. The photographic series explores the complexity and interdependency of the citizens of the world brought to light by the pandemic.

In order to understand the photographic series, background information is needed to describe the work methods. The series is meant to visually record the devastating affects of the pandemic. Since we are asked to stay home, and our only access to the world is through our computers and devices, the images of the crisis were photographed from the computer. The camera utilized has a multi-exposure function where one can photograph many photos at the same time, and the camera unifies them as one multilayered photo, which one can think of as a metaphor. The multi-layered collages shows how the virus has affected every aspect of our lives at a personal and global level and exposes the fact that we are all connected, but are not experiencing the pandemic in a similar or equal manner.
In the photographic series, garish colors and photos from all over the world are utilized to visually represent the chaos, fear, and uncertainty of our times. The photos are intended to scream our frustration, confusion, fear, uncertainty, and the multitude of feelings that are caused by the pandemic. The chosen medium is the collage to expose our “fragility and interdependence” of our world.

The pandemic has exposed the world’s “vulnerabilities” on so many levels of society. Hopefully, we take the lessons learned and rebuild better ones. History has shown that humans are a mix of contradictions. We are selfish, greedy, with destructive tendencies, but sprinkled with goodness, creativity, and kindness.

We have created the situation we are in now. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. Whether we like it or not, we are dependent on one another and share the responsibility of this historical time we are living through.

by Carol P. Govaert (Magpeye Photography)


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