PPD Readers Pandemic Projects: Kevin Steele's "Life On Pause"

By David Schonauer   Wednesday May 20, 2020

PPD readers have been self-quarantined, and busy.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been hearing from readers of the Daily telling us about personal projects they’ve been working on during the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ll be featuring a number of those projects regularly, starting with Los Angeles-based photographer Kevin Steele’s series  “Life On Pause.”

As his photo business shut down in March, Steele decided to head out and document how friends in different neighborhoods were living through their time in isolation. This he did safely, shooting through front doors. Below, he describes the project:

“This is an unprecedented time.  We are all apart from each other but sharing a common experience. My productions and work shut down for likely months to come, and I wanted to channel my creativity into a project that was meaningful — a project revealing how we live through theses times and how we are feeling.  

“As a commercial location photographer my work is full of color and emotion.  This project brings me back to my roots documenting life — one camera, one prime lens, black and white. No assistants, simple.”

Friends he photographed soon began referring him to others. After he’d photographed nine scenes, he created an Instagram project page, @life.onpause, and began posting the photographs. You can also find them at his website.

“After each shoot I began to ask subjects for a few sentences to share — not who they are, but rather how they are really feeling through all of this, and I began adding the stories to the posts,” says Steele. “Those stories have became inspiration for others as they share common fears as well as the positive aspects of coming together. Everyone’s situation is different, but there is a common feeling through all of this".

Here are some examples:

“Now in the seventh week of shooting over 60 scenes, I’m struck at how the tenor of the photographs and stories have evolved over time,” says Steele. “Initially there was shock, denial and anxiety amidst the uncertainty.  As we’ve settled in and realized that this will be awhile, there are now feelings of acceptance and positivity in our self-quarantining.”
Want to share your pandemic project? Send us an email.


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