Through the lens: Capturing Covid
Photographers Steve Conlin, Nick Sokoloff and Paul Duane share their experience documenting Salt Lake City locals during the COVID-19 pandedmic
Steve first raised the idea, after seeing a few pics from the 1918 flu epidemic and having local educational institutions asking for submissions of images from the current crisis. He thought this project would be a great way to formalize the documentation. He threw out the idea to Paul and Nick and they jumped on-board; it seemed like quite an important project to both capture this moment in time and to document this unique and bewildering period as a historical document. We’ve had fun working as a team and as they say, many hands make light work.
It has been remarkable how varied people’s experiences have been. Some are thriving during the quarantine. Others are on the brink of disaster. It’s the varied emotional and psychological responses that are the most interesting and these have been all over the board. We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have said that reading other peoples stories has helped them to feel less alone or living a singular experience. If you are having a real hard time, and many of your friends are thriving, you might start to feel “what is wrong with me?” Through other people’s stories they have been able to know that there is nothing wrong with them and that circumstances are just different for some.
Photography does something no other medium does, freezing an actual moment or expression for us to contemplate ad infinitum. Sometimes a photograph stands alone; in this case the images work better with words, as a sort of portrait documentary series. The pieces work to connect viewers to a broader shared experience and when successful, they serve to humanize the COVID-19 and quarantine experience, providing insight and perhaps comfort to the viewer.
We believe that there will be a definite lasting significance to the work and that in time, the Capturing Covid project will become more powerful. As artifacts, the pieces will provide to future generations, a humanized picture of what people actually went through during the pandemic. One hundred years from now, people will also look at what people were wearing, hair styles, interactions, expressions, etc - the photography will provide insight into a different time.
Visit the Capturing Covid Facebook page at Facebook.com/capturingcovidslc for more portraits.
Paul Duane: The Soul Anarchist Podcast - SoulAnarchist.com
Social media handles:
Paul Duane: IG: @PAULDUANEPHOTO, @SOULANARCHIST
Nick Sokoloff: Nick’s ongoing portrait documentary series entitled The New Americans can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/thenewamericansslc/ and on permanent exhibition at The City County Building and in the Salt Lake Justice Courts. The project explores the journey of refugees and the resettled in and around Salt Lake City.
Nick’s full body of work can be seen at www.nicksokoloffphoto.com
Steve Conlin: I’m the CEO of Ogden’s Own Distillery - photography and side projects are merely a hobby for me and a remnant of my photojournalist past. I’ve been photographing Utah’s drag queen culture for about 4 years and hope to showcase that work in some form or fashion in the coming year. Some of it is included in a collection of my work here: