A singular gallery show reveals a photographer’s journey by 2020’s lockdown months within the type of screenshots from video calls
Of the various issues that the COVID-19 pandemic taught us, the significance of human connection ranks excessive. The lack thereof, is maybe probably the most excruciating part for a lot of who dwell alone by the pandemic. The presence of a beloved one in the home, so simple as it sounds, remained gravely underrated till now. It has made even a recluse like Mumbai-based photographer Rema Chaudhary crave companionship.
For many introverts, the primary few months had been virtually a reduction, a cheerful deviation from unavoidable social interactions. But as time handed, everybody scrambled for pockets of consolation and familiarity inside their very own houses. And, devoid of human presence, heat hugs and pointless but comforting background noise, lonely days adopted.
After the preliminary months of isolation, Rema too went looking for a cheerful bubble of reminiscences, which is what led her to reconnect with an ex-partner, Taha, who resides in Toronto, over video calls. In the start, checking in on one another was the norm. But as days much like the earlier ones glided by, one another’s presence mattered greater than conversations. As mundane day-to-day actions carried on, lit screens offered solace. Soon, to doc this expertise, Rema began taking screenshots of those video calls: most frames present certainly one of them engaged in an earthly exercise like folding laundry or doing dishes, whereas the opposite seems to be on. The consequence was 300-odd frames captured from May 2020 to September 2020, the height lockdown months. In August, Rema recognized a story that might maybe make this assortment a e book.
“It was just going to be a book. I realised that we had a whole archive and I wanted to do something with it. And, I decided to print them and put them up on my wall. Sahil [Arora of Method Art Gallery] had come over and said it would actually look good when displayed in the same way,” says Rema, of the inception of Alone, Together as a photographic sequence that’s presently on show at Method, Bandra.
The narrative begins with Taha’s morning and Rema’s night since there was a twelve-and-a-half hour time distinction between the 2. It travels by 24 hours of every of their days. Instead of web page numbers, the passage of the narrative is marked by time stamps. And, not one of the frames are deliberate or performative, provides Rema. The technical facet of displaying screenshots that are of decrease decision than professionally shot pictures, didn’t trouble her in any respect. “In my other work, I am a perfectionist but it was really fun to not care about composition or colour correction for once,” she says. In reality, the pixellation and low decision add many layers to this reflective piece of labor, provides Rema.
It is straightforward to misread this as voyeurism, says Rema, including that her frames have function in occasions of shared misery. “What I hope to have captured is not salacious voyeurism but two people fulfilling the very human need of wanting to be witnessed in our most raw and unfiltered states.”
More than it being work, the sequence has helped Rema introspect by the lockdowns. “This has been a great exercise in taking control and putting myself out there. I have sort of overcome many inhibitions about myself through this work,” says Rema. A presence in the home, despite the fact that digital, had helped her with easy issues like taking a break and even searching for recommendation. “It’s like having a voice in the next room for you to scream out to,” she says .