Watching friends and family in the U.S. scramble to prepare for Covid-19 induced lockdowns made me, in nearby Mexico, nervous. Even without any official guidelines to maintain social distance, I was scared into self-isolation sooner than most. Yet while other countries placed tighter restrictions on their citizens, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador toured the country, hugging and kissing his supporters. I stayed inside, but from my window, I watched Mexico City carry on - it felt like business as usual.
I began taking photos to cope with my anxiety, photographing those who passed by my window and wondering what their stories were. Where were they going? Why weren’t they home? I was visually confronted by the fact that 55% of Mexico’s residents work in the informal economy, without the financial security to stop working or the resources to work safely. Would they be able to feed their families if the city shut down? How would they survive the imminent economic downturn? Sequestered inside, I felt powerless. Under normal circumstances, I’d be out there, telling stories, but knowing that the risk of falling sick is high, I’m opting to stay in.
As I made these photos, I needed to actively find moments of peace. Moments to remind me that despite my lack of control in this frightening situation we are currently in, there is beauty in pause. I turned my lens to the trees, birds, even the softly lit electrical lines outside my window, photographing things that bring me comfort in their constancy. I paired these images together into diptychs so that these ostensibly different feelings have space to coexist. These diptychs are a coping mechanism, a way to allow myself to feel, to touch upon a story that’s deeply important to me while also acknowledging that I, too, am affected by it.