Corona Portraits

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived in Europe in February of 2020. Slowly all countries started taking measures, some more strict than others, to slow the infections and prevent the hospitals from collapsing. This Pandemia, which no one expected, has been and still is very hard for everyone around the world. Staying at home, not having physical contact with people, wearing masks, wearing gloves, and being patient are the new rules.
I’ve been at home since the past 18th of March, trying to keep myself busy and productive. I’ve seen people (on the internet) take the “chance” of Corona to be creative, as an inspiration. I always hear that the “best” art comes from situations of crisis. I don’t agree entirely but it’s true that quarantine is giving everyone one thing: time. Time to think, reflect, create, observe, etc. People record themselves making music, doing home-workouts, cooking, telling a joke, and they share it to feel less alone. 
All this time got me thinking about what I can add to the table, for myself and for others. As a photographer, staying at home, the possibilities suddenly reach a limit.

I took pictures of my things, my plants, my flatmates, my windows, myself. However what I missed the most was people and the intimacy of portraying someone.

Corona Portraits is an ongoing series of photographic portraits taken via Zoom/Skype/Facetime of people in their homes throughout the quarantine. I set up an appointment with the person being portrayed and we meet through one of the named platforms. Together we choose a location at their house to frame the portrait. Through our conversation I’m able to get to know the person better and viceversa, which makes us both feel safe and calm in a very intimate setting. Our home has always a very private atmosphere, it talks about ourselves and how we are. 
I’m interested in portraying our state of calm, longing, wait, boredom and patience, throughout the quarantine.
I publish one Corona Portrait each day on my website and on my Instagram account. ︎

3. June 2020
Corona Portrait 46
This is Tina at her parent's house in Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Staying at home might be comfortable and easy if your house is spacious and wide. When the place is small and shared it can be cloustrophobic and the need to get out becomes stronger.

1. June 2020
Corona Portrait 45
This is Azat at his apartment in Zurich. During (self) isolation we've only been able to see less than a handful of people, which in my case has strengthen my relationship with them. Sometimes we take for granted the people we live with and it's in times like this where we are thankful for them and appreciate their friendship.

28. May 2020
Corona Portrait 44
This is Katia at her "isolation apartment" in the outskirts of Moscow. This pandemic has affected people in different times of the year and although where i am now things seem almost "normal", there are other places where the conditions are still dangerous and regulations very strict. How long until we can call this the past?

27. May 2020
Corona Portraits 43 
This is Pablo at his apartment in Zurich. Although the financial situation for musicians has been quite affected throughout this crisis, it has given people "silence" and space to come up with new ideas and projects. It is nice to see how this community has shown a lot of solidarity and support towards each other through streamings and other creative alternatives for sharing and recording their music.

26. May 2020
Corona Portrait 42
This is Celia at her parent's house in Madrid. Things are, slowly and with restrictions, starting to open up again and it's giving people back their motivation to work and be productive. For those who weren't able to work during this period of time, not even from home, it's definitely good news. However people sill need to take care and be cautious to protect themselves and others.

16. May 2020
Corona Portrait 41
This is Pauline at her partner's family house. There has been, and still are, several initiatives from cultural institutions to dedicate part of their program to projects that come from the coronavirus crisis. People have been afected by it in many different ways and offering a platform to showcase this relfections and projects is another way to exchange, share and deal with the situation.

15. May 2020
Corona Portrait 40
This is Brooke at her house in Zurich. During this time there are people who have been able to be creative individually but also collectivly. Even though communication has been hard with the distance, it has allowed a different kind of closeness.

14. May 2020
Corona Portrait 39
This is Francisca at her apartment in Zurich. This pandemic has shown us that our health systems need to be strong and filled with resources so that in situations such as the current one we only have the virus to blame. And if they are not strong, as it is proven to be in some of the cases, we need to make them strong. because if what's happening isn't enough proof of the support they need, then i don't know what is.

13 May 2020
Corona Portraits 38
This is Clara at her grandparents house in the outskirts of Madrid. I feel like the longer this goes on for the more comfortable we are with it and the more we forget about how we used to function. I don't like it, it seems dangerous. The feeling of solitude that is at first so scary, is now starting to become ordinary and maybe even nice. The multitude and closeness is, on the contrary, turning into a stranger.

12. May 2020
Corona Portrait 37
This is María at her apartment in Munich. Restaurants, bars and cafés everywhere have been very affected by the lockdowns to the point were employees had to be fired because of low rentability. Many working people have been placed in situations of economical risk and don't know when the we'll be able to work with normality again. I can't wait to seat outside and have a coffee and nothing on my mind.

11. May 2020
Corona Portrait 36
This is Pia at her house in the outskirts of Zurich. Today the schools in Switzerland opened. Kids have been learning from home and it hasn't been productive for them or their parents. To regain a bit of routine must be a big relief.

10. May 2020
Corona Portrait 35
This is Kaspar at his home-studio in Emmental. It has been difficult to feel inspired to be creative during this time. We need time and distance from our work to appreciate it and gain back that motivation to come back to it.

9. May 2020
Corona Portrait 34
This is Alex at the backyard of her house in Viena. Measures in Austria have changed and now people are allowed to travel freely within the country. Nevertheless, refugees aren't receiving as much attention during a time where help is highly necessary. Medical resources, basic living conditions and care are required by everyone, regardless of their situation.

8. May 2020
Corona Portrait 33
This is Carmen at the backyard of her boyfriend's family house in Denia. The coronavirus took people by surprise and not everyone was at home when it happened. Many people where abroad, either studying or working or on holidays and had to improvise quickly to go back to their countries. And some people landed in a home which wasn't theirs with small luggage not knowing how long the stay would be.

7. May 2020
Corona Portrait 32
This is Sergio at his boyfriend's house in Madrid. Things seem to slowly calm down and it's making people relax and breathe, which is great. It is however also causing people to forget that we are still in a pretty dangerous situation. Better safe than sorry. We need to remember the gravity of the case and keep our minds alert.

6. May 2020
Corona Portrait 31
This is Sara at her parents house in Madrid. We tend to procrastinate things like reading a certain book, watching a long movie, learn how to cook a specific meal, fix broken things because we say we never find time. Maybe now is the time. But maybe also not. Those where some of my thoughts at the beginning of this whole situation. We could invest this time at home to pick up our lost hobbies or find new ones but we don't have to only because it seems like the right thing to do. At the end of the day we don't have "more" time, we have the same amount, we only need to rethink how to arrange it.

5. May 2020
Corona Portrait 30
This is Alonso at his house in Madrid. Not an easy time for people who are looking for a job. The number of unemployed people in Spain has never been this high. However, in this extraordinary situation, we can't afford to put the economical issue ahead of the health one, i think.

4. May 2020
Corona Portrait 29
This is Laura at her parents home in Bregenz. Among other many things we still don't have the answers to, we don't know when we'll be able to cross borders to other countries to visit friends, family and loved ones. This is personally one of my biggest concerns.

3. May 2020
Corona Portrait  28
This is Charles at his parents house in Hong Kong. For professional musicians, teaching online has become a real struggle. There's no quality in the sound whatsoever and therefore it's quite hard to guide someone or give them advice. Simoultaneously music has been a crucial part of this pandemia: from people playing their instruments on their balcony and singing sarcastic lyrics about the coronavirus, to famous bands live-streaming from their homes.

2. May 2020
Corona Portrait 27
This is Alicia at her apartment in Zurich. To the people who have lost someone, I am deeply sorry. I can only imagine how hard it must be to not only lose someone but to not be with your loved ones when it happens. I wish everyone who is in this position energy and strength to get through this.

1. May 2020
Corona Portrait 26
This is Iker at his parents house in the outskirts of Madrid. During the first adjustment weeks some people decided to go back to their hometowns. The flights were a real adventure, a difficult one. The distance, the masks, the gloves. Then comes the landing and your family waiting, which you cannot hug or approach properly. In the car, one in front and one in the back. Home at last...

30. April 2020
Corona Portrait 25
This is Stephanie at the terrace of her house in the outskirts of Hong Kong. There's a certain piece and quiet in this view. It isn't what everyone sees when they step out to their balcony but it gives us something to look forward to. When we'll know everything is okay and won't need to think about anything. Just be there.

29. April 2020
Corona Portrait 24
This is Danny at his apartment in Bamberg. Besides already being personally very aware of the danger of the situation, we are constantly being reminded of the case by police officers patrolling the streets. Controlling if those who walk with us actually live with us, if they are truly our partners, the purpose of our walk, etc. To the point where over-protection is legitimately misunderstood as distrust and hostility.

28. April 2020
Corona Portrait 23
This is Ana at her mother's house in the south of Madrid. The confinement in Spain seems to be opening up slowly. Kids are now able to go out for a walk around their neighbourhood but this is still far from "freedom". For some people the most time they spend outside is on the supermarket waiting line which depending on the area and the size of the shop goes from 15 min to 1 hour.

27. April 2020
Corona Portrait 22
This is David at his mother's house in Huesca. Students had to switch their routines to online classes, tutorings, presentations and even exams. It is not easy to concentrate, suddenly our private and professional life are suddenly sharing the same physical and mental space. People seem to be adapting but for how long?

26. April 2020
Corona Portrait 21
This is Uma at her flat in Zurich. I don't know when we'll be able to travel abroad again, or even within the country we live in. Traveling is one of the things we normally only think about when holidays are coming up, but right now as it isn't an option, we think about it all the time. At least I know I do.

25. April 2020
Corona Portrait 20

This is Javi at his parent's house in Alicante. There's a debate about "after". What happens when all this is over and we go back to the way we were? Some think the conscience that we might be developing at the moment towards the planet and towards each other, may not last. That we'll forget and reach for our old habits. I think this pandemia has marked a beginning and an end of a time, which makes whatever comes after not the same as what we had before. I personally hope this means a change for the better and not for the worse.

24. April 2020
Corona Portrait 19
This is Rocío at her parent's house in Madrid. The pharmacies are on the front line of this pandemia. They are the ones taking care of the people - besides attending their basic needs, they are also there to listen and make people feel protected. Long hours of work exposed at high risk that need to be acknowledged.

23. April 2020
Corona Portrait 18
This is Allan at his apartment in Viena. It's a new reality for photographers as well. A time to explore the hidden places of our room, our possessions, ourselves. A time to understand the limitations of the camera but also of photography. Along the immense amount of images circulating the internet daily, there are a lot of interesting photographic projects rising from this situation that proof photography as a wide and spaceless medium of communication.

22. April 2020
Corona Portrait 17
This is Ana at her parents house in Madrid. Already over 35 days have passed since Spain is under a very strict lockdown and there's people who have only left the house twice during that time. Maybe some people are used to working from home and spending long hours inside, and therefore might not feel so affected by this fact. However I think breathing fresh air, stretching our legs and looking at the horizon is crucial not only for our physical health but for our mental health as well. It's also part of staying healthy.

21. April 2020
Corona Portrait 16
This is Luis at his flat in Madrid. There are people affected by this pandemia that need others to help them with their basic necessities. Volunteers are organizing themselves to bring them their groceries and basic pharmaceutical supplies. They are also helping children and teenagers with their homework via online, keeping them active with exercise workouts and entertaining them with fun activities. It's very inspiring to see solidarity in times of crisis.

20. April 2020
Corona Portrait 15
This is Kay at her house in Zurich. The fact that during this time we are able to communicate through video calls helps us feel connected. We "see" each other and our expressions (although rather pixeled) but it is far from being in the same room, where we smell, feel and hear the other person without their voice being internet-distorted. We don't have access to this physicality right now and it's hard to learn to live without it.

19. April 2020
Corona Portrait 14
This is Diego at his parent's house in Madrid. Madrid is a very loud city, specially the center, there's always a lot of people on the streets walking, talking, arguing, laughing. It's been over a month since the city's volume was turned down to almost its minimum. We usually complain about the things that characterize our cities but now that they're gone, we miss them.

18. April 2020
Corona Portrait 13
This is Leslie at her flat in Zurich. Spring is when things such as school, university or exams come to an end and it's also the time when some people graduate and move on to a new chapter of their lives. This year we'll have to be creative about how to honor such big events because corona or no corona, people still need to celebrate their victories.

17. April 2020
Corona Portrait 12
This is Raúl at his flat in Zurich. There are countless reasons right now to feel unmotivated, frustrated, sad, angry, powerless. We need to find positivity, happines, inspiration, hope; because it might be the only thing that will take us out of this.

16. April 2020
Corona Portrait 11
This is Katrin at her parent's house in Lörrach. Like everything else, museums are closed; and although people still work on developing content and researching for upcoming exhibitions, we don't know when we'll visit one, in the traditional sense, again. It's a time to experiment and explore new ways of exhibiting. The internet for example, the virtual space, can also be curated to showcase art and provide an experience for visitors.

15. April 2020
Corona Portrait 10
This is Joan at his girlfriend's house in the outskirts of Zurich. There are people who work throughout the whole year, they move very fast and days go by without them noticing. Some do it because they like to and others because they have to. The current situation, besides everything, has given us time. Time to slow down, to reflect on what we do and why we do it. Time that we didn't seem to have before.

14. April 2020
Corona Portrait 9

This is Nuryia at her studio-apartment in Biel. As a musician, home office is pretty hard, same as for artists or freelancers, for example. However it's very inspiring to see how people find creative ways to express themselves despite the limitations

13. April 2020
Corona Portrait 8
This is Dani at his apartment in Madrid. The audio-visual industry keeps creating content as usual, but from home. They keep writing dialogues, imagining characters and scenarios, thinking of beginnings and ends, seeing stories that want to be told. However, the production stopped and nothing can be shot or realized. Where should this ideas go? How long until they see the light?

12. April 2020
Corona Portrait 7
This is Gemma at her sister's apartment in Berlin. Long distance relationships are difficult in themselves but even harder now that borders are closed. The situation has made people resort to other methods of communication, like sending love letters or even driving to the border and meeting each on one side of a river.

11. April 2020
Corona Portrait 6
This is Marcel at his flat in Zurich. The fishes in this portrait made me think of the ocean and therefore the amount of waste that ends up there. Due to the coronavirus we are being forced to use disposable gloves, masks and plastic bags to prevent its spread. However I've already seen this items several times laying on the streets, after being used, contaminating the environment. We cannot afford to let Corona cloud all the other pressing issues in our society, such as climate change.

10. April 2020
Corona Portrait 5

This is Marina at her mother's house in Huesca. She is a medicine student and is, together with some of her colleagues, on a waiting list in case any hospitals might need them. In Spain, every day at 20.00, people step out to their balcony to applaud for all the public workers.

9. April 2020
Corona Portrait 4
This is Max at his flat in Switzerland. These days having a flatmate or someone to live with feels more valuable than ever. Company, face to face conversation. So important yet not always possible.

8. April 2020
Corona Portrait 3
This is Ana at her dad's house in the outskirts of Madrid. Being in a small town, outside a big city or in a less populated area is easier right now. There's more space, more air and maybe more freedom. However, regardless of the size or location of your home, I can't not think of the people who don't even have one to stay at. I have to remember this as well.

7. April 2020
Corona Portrait 2 ⠀ ⠀ 
This is Josep at his flat in Zurich. They have a beautiful terrace - a place that has now turned into a sort of liberty symbol, as the balcony or the garden. We apreciate things that we used to take for granted. ⠀

6. April 2020
⁣Corona Portrait 1
This is Kathrine at her parent's house in Norway. Some of us had to go back to living with our parents due to the coronavirus. There's a certain warmth, a certain feeling of safety and tranquility that comes to mind when I think of the home I grew up in.

©Alicia Olmos Photography