It is a year now since I packed up and fled my winter desert retreat. As I watched borders closing and people succumbing to this virus it was a race against time to return safely to my Pittsburgh home. I felt a fear unknown to me in my lifetime. This intangible enemy was wreaking havoc on the entire planet. All I thought about was getting home to close the door on the craziness that was exploding around me.
It became clear that sheltering in place would be the norm for the foreseeable future. What did this mean? Would my friends and loved ones survive this pandemic? Would I survive? Would I live to see my unborn grandchild? What was it safe to do? So many unanswerable questions even the esteemed Dr. Anthony Fauci could not answer.
Turning inward I embraced this time to reflect upon my photography practice. I decided to become friends with my tripod and experiment in low light settings using flashlights as my light source. My subjects were botanical cuttings I collected on daily neighborhood walks. This slow time allowed me to really see and enjoy the emergence of spring. I researched the stems I brought home as well as noting where I found them. I began to think of myself as a plant thief. I didn’t feel guilt, as these blooms were subjects of my artistry. Safe in My Studio: Native Plant Discovery developed into a long-term project examining the native plants in my immediate surroundings.
My Empty Streets fulfilled my need to document this place in history. The overwhelming sense of despair, loneliness and fear was palpable.