During the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown I was awared a micro commission by Swarm Dynamics to spend time recording and reflecting on the passing interactions I had with strangers on the street. The work can be viewed below, or in the online gallery here.
In a nutshell:
I have created a series of photographs of pavements local to me and recorded the passing interactions I had with strangers. ‘We looked at each other, we knew what to do’ aims to remind us what we miss out on when we are looking down.
I have noticed how the shared experience of a pandemic has encouraged strangers to look up, to acknowledge each other and to be grateful for other’s mindful behaviour. ‘We looked at each other, we knew what to do’ records some of the reoccurring positive exchanges I experienced during the height of lockdown in my neighbourhood.
On a particularly low day one man’s chipper ‘Good Morning’ jolted me out of a bad mood and reminded me that I was not as alone in the world as my mind had led me to believe. Simple gestures such as making eye contact, smiling, or saying hello became routine interactions on my daily walks. Although these things existed before COVID-19, they were not always commonplace.
I have spent some time reflecting on this shift, both from a personal and broader sense. The situation has enabled me to slow down, to take notice and feel able – and sometimes obliged- to spark conversations with strangers. Woven between the uncertainty and tension it has been a real positive for me and moving into the future, as our lives begin to shift again, I hope we hold onto it and keep looking up.