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the disappearing act

An ongoing series by Nipun Prabhakar 

In the time of this ongoing pandemic, when one-third of the world is in quarantine, all of us are finding ways to spend time at home. To document the effect of COVID-19 lockdown on people’s lives, I set out video calling friends across the world, documenting the change in their lives caused by the Global outbreak. For some, it's confinement, it's an amazing opportunity to do things they always wanted to do. All of us are in the same situation and tackling it through our ways. The photo series is important for both, the subjects, and the viewers because it makes them ‘see’ that they are not going through this alone.

The photo essay by now has covered 20 such people from Mumbai, Amman, Florence, New York, Cordoba, Bhopal, Banglore, Brooklyn, Perth, Kathmandu, Ajloun, Istambul, and Paris. The people include a fashion designer, yoga teacher, Air traffic controller, Buddhist monk, French teacher, singer, researcher, architect, Actress, a rapper from Mumbai slums, a magician, etc. If this pitch is accepted, I would like to cover more people who are working outside their homes and providing essential services. 

The process has been a learning experience for me as photography has transcended beyond the limitations of space and distance. In the process, I arrange for a zoom/skype/facetime video call with individuals and discuss how they are spending their time in the lockdown and how it is different. For people who I have not met earlier or have not seen their house before, I ask them to show me interesting places in their house where they like spending time to understand the space. During this process, I take screenshots. To play with camera angles, we find frugal ways of making a tripod with shoe boxes, books, service ladders, and masking tape, etc.

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