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CREATIVE ISOLATION

By MIA DEL ROSARIO VILLARIN

Homebody. I never thought of myself as one. I was always the one planning something and going somewhere. So many places to go, so little time. One could say I have a major case of FOMO, and I admittedly do. But yet here I am. Here we are. In the midst of a global pandemic, we are forced to change our lifestyle. While physically having to shelter in place, we are mentally and emotionally dealing with a situation we’ve never considered before. 

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I know I am more fortunate than others, having a backyard to relax and spend outdoor time in. I’ve taken to having my simple breakfast of a bagel and coffee outside every day. Then I catch myself staying longer than planned, feeling the breeze, looking at the flowers, and enjoying their scent permeating the air. Even the birds that fly in to feast from the feeder we hung are now used to my company. They land on the perch and pause to look at me. Their little heads tilting, as if questioning my presence. But then they realize I’m no threat and so they carry on with their business of having their fill for the day. In that short daily activity, all my senses are heightened to observe beauty I would have otherwise given only a passing glance. I’d like to think I would have appreciated it before, but would I have noticed the way sunlight dappled on my skin, or felt the wind that caused the leaves to dance and sweep the scent of the roses my way?

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I now realize this time at home is a gift and I wanted some way to journal my feelings. The idea of composing photos while in isolation came from a photographer (@jamiebeck.co) I’ve followed for years. Her work is a testament to the beauty of the world around us. With that inspiration, I wanted for my future self to look back and see that I put something positive out in the universe at this time of uncertainty and anxiety. Most of the pictures are reflections of how I felt on a particular day. They are images of hope, and love, and sometimes escape, even feelings of being overwhelmed.

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I am in no way a professional, I set my stage up in my living room, with music I love playing in the background. Gathering my props for the day, I start building on an idea I have in my head. I shoot with an old iPhone, not following any techniques or rules of photography. The only rule I follow is one I feel in my gut. I let the process take me where it wants to go and when it feels right, I stop. The end result always surprises me. It’s a palpable joy that fills my heart and instantly lifts my mood. In one hour of my day, my only focus is the curl of a leaf, or the velvety softness of a petal, the shape of a fruit, or how a miniscule water drop can give so much life to an image. To have that chance to see only beauty even in such a short amount of time, it’s the most dazzling tunnel vision there is. It is a gift that everyone should seek out in whatever shape or form simply because it is there and it is ours for the taking.

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Editor’s Note: The author is a Filipino-American educator based in Los Angeles. She is now in the process of turning a selection of her photos into notecards as a fundraiser for NYC restaurant workers affected by Covid-19. 


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/05/18/creative-isolation/)

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