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Life in a Bubble by Erin Watt

With lockdown reappearing in localised areas across the globe it still feels relevant to keep sharing our Covid-19 submissions with you. Next up - Erin Watt is a family and personal branding photographer in Waterloo, Canada. Erin's words ring so true. Many of us with kids have struggled to deal with the stresses of the news, the pandemic and "real life" versus our family bubbles at home, protecting our kids from the scary side of lockdown. We love the way Erin has shown these contrasting parallels in her project, "Life in a Bubble". Here's her story........

When we heard that schools were shutting down for two weeks after the March break, I knew I wanted to keep my camera handy and consciously document this time we were going to spend together at home. 

The inspiration for my “Life in a Bubble” project came about a week into our self-isolation, when I was struggling with the stark contrast between all of my worries about COVID-19 in the world outside our home, and the cozy, normal, fun atmosphere I was trying to maintain for my kids. I found myself sneaking a peek at the news on my phone in between turns of board games, putting in an earbud to listen to updates while building forts, or letting my mind wander to worries while reading aloud at bedtime.

I quickly realized that these habits weren’t healthy or helpful, and were taking me away from being present in the moment with my family, but the way the virus made its way into our quiet lives stuck with me.

“Life in a Bubble” represents my desire to keep my family safe and sheltered from the virus by maintaining normality, all the while fighting my own intrusive worries, and ultimately, the intrusiveness of the virus itself.

In planning each image, I took a scene that I observed, and considered which recent headline would connect to the subject matter, to show the contrast between the fear and chaos of the news, and what was happening for us at home. Sometimes I was able to add the headline into the scene as it was happening, and sometimes I set up the scene with the intention of taking the photo.

I considered the different ways in which news and worries of the virus were poking into our bubble: not popping it, but bending it inward, the virus making us aware of itself, taking up space. It didn’t just keep us at home; it inserted itself into our daily activities, planting reminders of itself in things we thought were innocuous.

I started this project as a way to express the anxiety and upset that I felt about the virus, and the relative normalcy of living day-to-day inside a bubble, knowing the contrast between inside the bubble and outside of it. I feel profoundly aware of and grateful to the families of health care workers and other essential workers whose lives have been changed in much more dramatic ways. I also acknowledge the enormous privilege of having a safe bubble in which to shelter during this time. It is my hope that in a roundabout way, this project expresses gratitude for the life we lead, and documents how it has changed over the past few months.

Erin's Gear:

Erin photographed this series using used my Fujifilm XT-2 with 35mm and 18-55mm Fuji lenses. She also shot with her Fujifilm X100F (with its fixed 23mm lens).

You can find Erin here:

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