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A B.C. teenager is capturing personal experiences during a worldwide lockdown

by ace
A B.C. teenager is capturing personal experiences during a worldwide lockdown

A 17-year-old student from British Columbia documented the personal experiences of strangers around the world during this pandemic, one photograph at a time.

Asalah Youssef of Langley Fine Arts School said that Home Pictures The project arose from a desire to create and connect with people united in isolation.

"I mean, the whole world was told to stay home," she said.

Youssef said he was seeing people connect virtually, which made her think of photography in a different way.

"I dropped my regular camera, pushed my Canon camera aside and picked up my phone to start photographing people virtually."

Since April, she has photographed 45 people from different parts of the world, including Lebanon, the United States, London, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Ecuador, France, Mexico and Israel.

The teenager reaches out to people through Instagram, tells them about her project and asks if they want to participate, she said, adding that she met some people through friends.

"The beginning is just the fact that we have a conversation because, as you can imagine, I'm asking them for something very personal – to make a call on FaceTime, document them and photograph them."

She finally takes them through the lighting, posing and where to place the phone, then takes a screenshot, explained Youssef.

"It is a beautiful collaboration between me and someone that, for the most part, I have never met before."

The clarity of the photos surprised her, she said with a laugh.

"Sometimes you can see the lack of brightness in the photo and, you know, I kind of accept that because I think … it's saying how it was taken," she said.

"But sometimes you can't even say you're on FaceTime, which is also quite beautiful."

These photographs, said Youssef, are helping her to stay in the present, to embrace and work with the situation, and to seek joy and beauty every day.

"It is highlighting the most personal part of this pandemic and the experience of quarantining it at home. In a hundred years, people will look at these photographs and see all the different experiences and get a really personal view of this pandemic."

Youssef noted that one of the most memorable footage was a woman from the state of New Jersey, a fashion designer who has been facing the pandemic and the blockade by creating clothing and masks.

"She told me while filming" creativity cannot be quarantined. "She was such a bright and colorful person and it was really lovely to make the conversation so full, as if my cup was full having this conversation. with a fellow artist that I had. I never met before with whom I connected during this period ".

Another conversation that Youssef said touched her was with a woman in France who lost her father during the quarantine.

"She couldn't hold his hand and was saying how absolutely devastating it was and how much emotion motivated her. Her picture is of her leaning against a wall and you can feel that emotion through her."

Youssef said that her mother and she were talking recently about "how cool it would be" to do a second part of Screenshots of Home, where she visits the same people when everyone goes through it.

"That would be very special. You never know."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 29, 2020.

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