The entire world has ceased to exist as we know it, due to the spread of COVID-19. With social distancing and physical isolation mandates becoming the norm in our lives, along with wearing masks, Zoom work sessions, and having little to no contact with the outside world, what kind of impact are we going to see on our mental wellbeing, and how we connect after this is all over?
Some important questions that London-based photographer Anna Radchenko, originally from Moscow, is exploring in her latest work are: What does isolation mean to us? How do we feel about it once it’s imposed and our freedom is taken away?
Torn between being a responsible member of society by staying at home and the feeling of losing our freedom of action, the photographer and director visually explores the concept of mental and physical isolation through two capsule-photography series.
The first set, titled The Melancholy Rooms, was originally created as part of an exhibition space. The stills focus on the idea of living in a hyper-connected society, in which technology plays a vital role in how we relate to one another. Our devices are meant to bring us closer, but often the result is broader and more superficial relationships leaving us feeling disconnected. It’s only when the chance to meet in real life is taken away that we begin to fully understand the value and potential of this technology.
The second project, Baby Cribs, looks at physical isolation and how in these trying times we tend to revert back to our most basic needs. As the government imposes an increasing number of restrictions, we give up all control and almost regress to a state of infancy in the belief that we’ll be looked after and cared for. Feeling imprisoned, alienated and powerless, our homes reflect the extent of our freedom and control.
“Although these photos were shot before the international lockdown, they’ve become even more relevant in the current landscape,” said the award-winning artist in a press release.
Collectively we are going to have to think deeper about the way we connect, communicate, and look at the world around us going forward, something which Anna is already thinking about through her two collections.
“We find ourselves in an alternative reality, where we have to change our habits and some of our traits as we are spending so much time on our own. Much of what we took for granted, including the freedom to leave our homes, go to work and meet people, has been replaced by a growing feeling of uncertainty and confinement. But this has also meant reassessing our values, as we now place more importance on reconnecting with people. A simple “How are you?” is now a loaded and meaningful question, rather than just an informal greeting,” she added.
To see more of the images and Anna’s work, visit her website: www.annaradchenko.com
Creative director and Photorapher: Anna Radchenko @anna_radchenko
3d: Dimitri Rimss at Enjoy Rendering @enjoyrendering
Make-up Artists: Olga Zvereva, Galina Mahacheva, Galina Pashinina
Set designers: Taya Dodina and Zolotoya Staya