“Stay at home”. That was the recommendation. Other than occasionally going out for groceries, that is what I did for the last two weeks of March, with the advent of the pandemic order in Vancouver. I stayed at home to help flatten the curve, but mostly because at any one moment, there were over a hundred people in front of my apartment building seeking connection with nature. I live across the street from Stanley Park; it is my “front yard”. The weather was lovely. The cherry blossoms were in full, fluffy bloom. People had cabin fever. However, I didn’t want to go out. Daytime was when it was risky to go out. It was the night that was safe.
One of the largest urban parks in the world gets eerily quiet after the sun sets: the beaches clear of sunbathers, the seawall empties of joggers, rollerbladers, and cyclists, and a conga line of cars exit the park for points east. Heading out after 10:00 P.M., I found comfort in the night, and saw the silence and stillness as a perfect analogy for a world in lockdown.
Making the long-exposure photographs for this series – exposures were from 1-minute to 12-minutes – allowed me time to stand in the silence and be exposed to my surroundings. I witnessed shooting stars, and a ring of satellites passing over head. I saw the herons fishing in the shallows, heard eagles chittering at each other in their aeries, and saw racoons, otters, and beavers going about their nocturnal routines…a world mostly unseen in the daytime.
The darkness obscures the noisy details, and brings other objects into clear focus. Using only available light the photos in ‘Isolation’ capture aspects of the park often overlooked during the day, giving them new life in the night.The photos express the silence, solitude, and stillness of the park left alone, and comfortable in its isolation.