Portraits of an island on lockdown

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 10:45am
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Island resident and artist Tracy Finn created the idea of capturing an inside look into islanders’ lives in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I had a thought of photographing people in their doorways or yards as a way to document this time that we’re all going through,” said Finn.

Finn has already begun collecting photographs of island residents, including a shot of Socha Cohen standing in her door entrance, and Cindy Lemon sitting on her porch reading a book.

Finn is respecting and following social distancing protocols, and will be taking photographs from a distance with a zoom lens.

“I found I can safely document this time we’re in. Zoom lens, from afar, drive by. What does your shelter in place look like? Let me know if you would like a drive-by,” said Finn. Finn added that the people “who want to be involved in the photos, have been following the rules of social distancing.”

Island resident Kellie Donovan, who had her photograph taken by Finn, shared her thoughts on Finn’s photography initiative.

“I love what she is doing. Some of my favorite photographs... are of everyday activity. You get a sense of the time and attitude. It’s a fun idea to see people in this mode of their life — a side of people we don’t see,” said Donovan.

Donovan also added that her own photograph was a “representation of what I have been doing for the past month.” Donovan has been making handmade masks for the community, which have been handed out at the Harbor Church.

Island resident Kate Mello, who also had her family photographed by Finn, said, “I am so glad Tracy reached out to us. I love the idea of pictures connecting a community! It is so comforting during this time to see familiar faces through this series. I am also thankful to document this moment in time for my family.”

When asked how her photography process is proceeding with taking photographs from a distance, Finn responded “The process of taking these photos hasn’t been much different than normal, since there’s usually a fair distance between myself and the subject. It’s the conversation in between the shots that has been different - the same strange feeling that social distancing in general has felt. Being able to create as an artist during this time, is grounding for me.”

“During this difficult and unimaginable time in our lives this type of project is a positive light and reminds us how important it is to value family and our community. I also love the significance of this for historic reasons. Future generations will look back and know that we smiled during such a challenging time,” said island resident Rosemary Tobin, who’s photo was also taken by Finn.

“I would like this collection of images to be compiled as a way to mark this time for us, and for future generations to look back on. I recently found a box of photos that my grandfather took in World War II. They’re not of the war, but they captured people living their lives while the war was happening. This was an inspiration for this project . . . I thought this would be a nice, safe way of us being able to be creative together, [and] everyone can be a part of this,” said Finn.

Finn added she plans “to eventually compile this collection into an album or a book of some sort . . . for future generations to look back on. When reading about how sad this time was for our country, someone can see images of who was on Block Island and smiling.”

To have your photo taken or to learn more about this project, Finn can be reached by email at tfinnphotography@gmail.com.