With lockdown back and no sign of it easing, issues of separation, isolation and confinement are as pertinent as ever.
They're things that Lebanese-American photographer Rania Matar has been thinking about for a while, and which she has documented in her series titled On Either Side of the Window, Portraits During Covid-19.
The series (which we've shared a little before) features images of real people and families in quarantine, all of which were shot through their windows. The new works are on planned to be on show at The Cornell Fine Arts Museum in Florida from 16 January until 9 May.
According to the museum, the idea of the work is to encourage viewers to reflect on how we relate to each other. "It feels as if the news is always dividing us as 'them versus 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," says Matar. "This virus is such an equaliser, making us all reevaluate our shared humanity, our fragility, and our priorities."
Matar began the work by shooting her friends' portraits in their homes. This soon evolved into a community-wide project as she felt a greater need to connect with others in the face of the pandemic's enforced isolation. She went on to snap pictures of more than 100 people around Massachusetts who agreed to pose for her.
Rania Matar is a Guggenheim 2018 Fellow who was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. Her photography work is informed by her cultural background and cross-cultural experience; and she's previously created works deducted to exploring issues of personal and collective identity, including female adolescence and womanhood both in the United States where she lives and the Middle East where she is from. Their aims were to "focus on notions of identity and individuality all within the context of the underlying universality of these experiences," says the artist.