In this series we asked artists and photographers to share photo diaries of life in quarantine.
This conversation has been edited for clarity.
“I’ve been with my parents and sister for the last few weeks of quarantine. I feel extremely grateful and lucky to have a safe space to be and to have the ability to stay home. Normally, mornings are for coffee and reading, afternoons I try (and sometimes fail) to workout, evenings I try and watch a movie.
“Work-wise, all of our projects have been either postponed indefinitely or cancelled, and from some conversations I’ve been having with other people in the industry, that seems to be the case for everyone. There are little editing things here and there that I can do from home but when the backbone of the whole workflow relies on being able to shoot, there’s only a limited number fo things I can do when that’s taken away.
“It’s been tough to contend with all the uncertainty. Given everything that’s happened, all of our social rules have been thrown out the window—common sense rationale and expectations no longer really applies and it’s difficult to say what will happen once the quarantine period is lifted. How do we even begin to plan for the the post-quarantine when all of our expectations have been drastically shifted? Shooting sometimes means being out in the world and always means interacting with people. When the nature of our interactions have been so altered, what happens then? It’s hard to foresee. And right now I think I lack the hindsight to know what we all will have learned form all this.
“That said, it’s also an unusual and unprecedented opportunity for artists to explore new avenues of creating. It’s easy to fall into habit and formula when making work and if there’s any upside to all this it’s that we have no choice but to abandon many of our tried and tested processes in exchange for something that responds more directly to the framework of our new environment. I’ve seen little things here and there of people holding photoshoots over Zoom or Skype and I love it. I think it’s great. It’s encouraging to me personally that people are already beginning to find ways to continue working, shooting and creating given all the circumstances. So much about artistic practice is problem solving. How to get around the lack of materials? How to convey a particular idea? How to present work in the ideal way? Now, it seems there’s another problem that we all have to overcome. I guess as with any major shift comes a flood of new ideas and perspectives. So I’m looking forward to that. It’s also interesting to see how old work has been re-contextualised under our current environment and how the meaning changes with the context.
We have no choice but to abandon many of our tried and tested processes in exchange for something that responds more directly to the framework of our new environment.
“My own practice typically leads to me being out in the world and making images of people I meet and things I respond to. Being indoors, I’ve had to shift my approach a little bit. I guess the process for me is divided into two major parts: shooting and editing/sequencing. So while I’ve been trying make new images by shooting with a long lens out the window, most of my practice has shifted to the editing. Editing – old images and old projects that I’m only getting the time to reflect on now, making collages of new and old images. It’s really been a time to experiment with new techniques.
“The images I’ve submitted are a diptych and a series of portraits, all of them shot out of my condo window. The diptych is a collage, of people doing normal everyday things, working out and walking the dog. Things we probably wouldn’t have thought twice about are now all of a sudden done in a new light. We cant go to the gym anymore, we cant even walk our dogs down the street. Now they’re done in isolation and in private, away from potential contact with other people.
“The portraits are of people I see out walking the streets. More than anything I’m curious about who these people are, where there are going, where they are coming from.” —Gio Panlilio as told to Jed Gregorio
Gio Panlilio is a photographer and photo editor at Tarzeer Pictures. He is an exhibiting photographer and regularly conducts portfolio reviews and talks. Besides making work for his personal photographic practice he has also shot commercial campaigns for Engkanto Beer, Rustan’s, Toms, Fini, The Moment Group and the Upskills+ Foundation. He enjoys watching Blu Rays of classic films.