Touches in Quarantine
The last four months of quarantine have kept me glued to my iPad. Paranoia over the pandemic led me to religiously clean my devices on a daily basis, but over time my diligence waned. I became negligent as I spent days on end cooped up in my apartment. Feelings of isolation coupled with the lack of physical contact with others were being replaced by an unbelievable uptick in screen time.
Wanting to make photographs felt pointless and social media’s take on the pandemic was overloading me with images that were desensitizing me to the sheer nature of our world. I wanted to create something but grappled with how to make something that was both intimate and more universal. I also was interested in seeking out the beauty in what we feared and for which we yearned. It wasn’t until I caught the morning sun reflecting off the dirty surface of my iPad that I realized I had unknowingly spent the past week creating the subject of this photograph. Bringing touch to the forefront of the work removes it from being feared and allows it to become a meditation on the one thing we all so desperately crave as humans.
Long semi-vertical smears record my journey through news articles; slim traces of where my nails grazed the surface reveal the dark black of the glass; fingertips leave their expected prints and overlap thus rendering them mere specters of emails once written. All of these touches document life at home yet they refrain from leaving any discernible marks that can be traced back to a particular day or time. The repetitive strokes on the surface mimic how much many of our days have become monotonous. The photograph is timely and timeless.
To preserve the delicate markings, I made a conscious decision to leave the surface dust and possible marks from sneezes for they add an additional layer to the photograph. Deciding to forego spotting the work caused internal unrest because we are trained to use Photoshop to remove dust or anything that may be read as mistakes so that we can “fix” the image and avoid being fingered for shoddy or amateur work. Nevertheless, by leaving them, it was an exercise in restraint to finally let go of the control that I was constantly seeking out during my time home.