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Two weeks into isolation, it’s getting claustrophobic

I would typically be out for most of the day, walking, observing and photographing. As a street photographer, I see the everyday streets as my main subject. But now that the lockdown has been put in place, and I’m self-isolating at home, there’s not much to do other than my university assignments.

All photos by Jeremy Gan

This is an old print of a photo I took a while back. Finding this in the back of my cabinet felt like a cruel joke by my past self. I couldn’t help but feel trapped in my own room.

Every day, every hour, I get updates on the virus. Most would turn it off, but I can’t help looking at the footage and photos, and living vicariously through them.

Since I live alone, there isn’t much interacting with anyone so the claustrophobia can really start to set in. I’ve been trying to document my isolation, but I’m having a hard time doing so. I just keep looking out my window and photographing the normally packed street, hoping to one day walk it again.

I find myself sleeping less and less as the isolation days draw on. Most nights I would be hunched over the laptop, busying myself with assignments and my own writing and only sleeping if I really need to.

So in my isolated free time, I’ve decided to read some books that I have been putting off. La Peste, Or The Plague, by Albert Camus seemed to be the natural first choice. His philosophies on the Absurd seemed to ring through in these trying days. A wanting to find meaning in these events has been plaguing my conscience for quite a while.

My mother, a devout Christian, has been sending religious texts non-stop. She’s self-isolating as her health is quite poor. It’s quite clear she is trying to make sense of it all through her religion, but it has always been like this.

In a attempt to remember the feeling of going out and photographing, I’ve started making photographs in videogames. It’s peculiar to jump into Firewatch and to start photographing, but what else is there to do?

I can’t help but feel this existential dread whenever I start photographing my isolation. I’m just a naturally depressing person I suppose, but I’m staying as optimistic as possible, believe it or not. So, I can’t help observe the small slivers of light that penetrate my room to remind me that eventually I’ll be out there walking again.


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