Between the Years
I was visiting my parents when the news first spoke of a lockdown. Thrilled at the
thought of what I saw as an extended vacation, I wrote a note on the kitchen table:
"Unis are closed, might stay a few more days." I was so full of energy that I did
not finish the sentence, the note ended at, "might stay a fe-."
The joy did not last long. At some point, I had exhausted the Netflix watchlist and done all the lazy things I would normally feel guilty for, and then I wished I could go back to university. When the online lectures started, I realized quickly that I couldn't cope with this form of study at all. I needed my usual walk to the university, and to share annoyed glances as the classes dragged on.
Covid pulled the rug from under my feet and revealed there was no solid ground beneath it. It took some time to realize I was not alone.
Many of the people I photographed were the friends I had been missing for months. It was not difficult to explain to them what pictures I was looking for—we were all in the middle of it and knew how the other was feeling.
The camera was my personal tool in processing the weight of our disorientation. Between observation, staging and the recreation of memories, I tried to find ways to express the diffuse of feelings of growing up in the 'time of corona'.
Not knowing where to hold on when everything is shaking around you may just be
natural during the period in life when one is no longer a child, but not yet an
adult. The pandemic worked as a catalyst to my disorientation, bringing to light the
inner conflicts that had been well contained by the right environment and sufficient
distraction. They finally broke free and took the space they had always silently
Before the pandemic, one in ten German teenagers showed symptoms of depression. At the end of the first lockdown, it was one in four. Many of my friends had trouble reconnecting with their social lives after the lockdown and I was no different. I have yet to go back to university.
The message I wrote to my parents at the beginning of the pandemic was preserved in a picture frame as a document of time. For months, it sat in a moving box in my new flat share. It took some time until I could unpack.