In this series we asked artists and photographers to share photo diaries of life in quarantine.
This conversation has been edited for clarity.
“I live alone, my family is in Laguna, and I have work here in Manila. As much as I want to spend quarantine with them I can’t, because I have to be here and there’s no public transportation to go back and forth. I wish I have a car. In the morning I sign in to work, and while waiting for stuff to be assigned to me, I exercise or cook. Cooking and washing the dishes almost consume half of my day and it wears me out.
“I have a day job and most of my assignments are on site and on the field. I feel so unproductive getting locked up, and I think I really don’t contribute anything to my officemates, so I really can’t make personal work at this time, because this stuff goes through my mind everyday, and it makes creating stuff so hard. I actually put my materials inside a plastic crate, because I don’t want to them yet—they have their own quarantine and I’ll decide when they can come out. The hardest part this time, and I think it is common to all of us, is that I really can’t sleep and my body clock is really messed up.
My works are heavily affected by everyday stuff outside and the energy of the people I interact with.
“I’m privileged and thankful to have a regular job because it’s one less thing to worry about, but I’m concerned about other artists whose main source of living is selling their work. Like what I said, it’s really hard to produce something during this time. Galleries are closed and I don’t know if collectors still ask for commissioned works. I realised my works are heavily affected by everyday stuff outside and the energy of the people I interact with, and this lockdown life affected it. I’ll stick to my approach, because I think my works make people laugh, and we need it because our emotions affect our health. At the same time my works have serious subject matter, and I’m still addressing these issues.
“After the lockdown, I most look forward to playing basketball. I’m still scared, but I can’t wait to go out with my loved ones and just go out and walk without being paranoid of getting sick and infected. Going to exhibits and galleries and talking to people during the normal times were taken for granted, and now we don’t know how long before we can do it again.” —Charles Salazar as told to Jed Gregorio
Charles Salazar is a photographer from Cabuyao, Laguna, and is based in Manila. He works as a video production and operations specialist for Rappler.com. Salazar’s photographic work mainly uses film and mobile phone, playing with collage, cut-outs, and appropriation. His is a fascination with two-dimensional images that can be restructured, redefined, and manipulated, often with the tool of humour. He is part of the collective Tito and Tita. Salazar has exhibited work at Manila galleries such as PAN// at 98B Collaboratory, Altro Mondo, Green Papaya, and Blanc Gallery.