The following collection of portraits was captured during the coronavirus outbreak and self-isolation period in March and April in Boston and surrounding areas. As our worlds got smaller with stay-at-home orders and limited in-person contact, students shifted to attending classes online and working from home, while lives everywhere were altered in countless ways. These are the few human beings I had contact with during that time. As the state reopens, may these portraits represent a glimpse into what the past few months felt like for some young people in this city and others.
Northeastern student Gioia Infelise, 21, used baking as a method to cope with confinement, and was grateful that people were still allowed to go on walks.
“I mean, I think it’s helped make it easier that we can still go outside, but I could imagine that if we couldn’t at all,” she said. “Then I would definitely feel very confined and get more stir crazy.”
Software engineer Tom Kowalski, 23, did maintenance work on his bike in his apartment in Cambridge. Kowalski defined confinement as a “lack of freedom,” and said he used his cycling hobby to help combat bad feelings.
“If it’s nice out, I’ll try and go on a ride and clear my head for an hour or two,” he said, “or work on making sure my bikes are all up to speed—whatever I need to do to stay sane and not go crazy.”
Daniel Waxman-Lenz, 24, an electrical engineer at Starry, an internet service provider, started working from home on March 16. In this photo, he’s mummified in his sleeping bag on his porch in Cambridge. It’s a space that he generally enjoys being confined in.
“It is mostly just frustrating that I can’t go out into the woods or do more active things outside that I am normally used to doing on weekends,” he said. “It’s hard because you have to keep reminding yourself why you can’t do things that you want to do, and it often doesn’t seem like it has an impact. I know that it does in the long-run, but it isn’t as immediately noticeable I guess.”
Northeastern University student Kaitlyn Mac Guthrie, 21, stood in the doorway of her Mission Hill home for our shoot. Guthrie described the pandemic as “weird and surreal” and said the recent confinement has left her “feeling trapped, stuck, claustrophobic and helpless.”
Northeastern student Natalie Reeder, 21, posed in the shadow of the blinds in her Mission Hill home. Reeder, who does not generally like appearing in photos, shared a candid laugh with the camera at the end of the shoot.
On confinement, Reeder said, “I am an active person. It’s very frustrating to have to make choices based on the pandemic and making sure I am being a responsible citizen instead of making choices based on what I want to do.”