If you’ve been disciplined during the coronavirus outbreak, you probably haven’t seen your friends for a while. And if there’s one thing all of us in self-isolation have in common, it’s this: we miss out friends! Photographer Jared Gruenwald is one of us, and he came up with a way to make himself less lonely. He started taking portraits of his friends who are also in isolation, all from a safe distance. The result is a series of pretty unusual portraits: some are emotional, but the others are incredibly silly.
Jared is a portrait photographer, so during this crisis, his business has pretty much stalled. But so has his social life. And of course, it started to take its toll:
“Being locked down due to covid-19 is taking a toll on all of us in pretty much every way imaginable. I miss work. I miss my friends. I miss being alone because I choose to be alone. I miss being stuck in my house with my family because I choose to be stuck in my house with my family. I think I even miss traffic. This whole crazy situation has really made me appreciate how important routine casual interactions are. I love random encounters with random people. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a smile from a passerby or sympathizing with the dude behind me at the grocery store who’s pissed off because someone sucks at self-checkout. Being around people keeps me going. It fuels me. And now, it seems even making eye contact is off limits.”
Of course, it was his friends he missed the most (and I can totally relate). “What were they all doing? How were they all handling this?” Jared wondered. Like many of us, they had some group chats online, but he still really missed seeing them in person. Once again, it sounds so relatable.
One day, Jared’s photographer friend posted some photos of mannequins in his studio. Jared and other folks snarkily commented on how there are no models to come by these days. But there was a comment about “window modeling” that caught Jared’s attention. He got an idea – he would visit his friends and take photos of them, all while engaging in proper social distancing.
So, Jared got in a car with his camera and paid a visit to his friends. And it looks like this:
“I would drive by their houses and text them to come to their window. Some I gave fair warning to, others not so much. When they came to the window I popped out of my car door (or sunroof) and snapped a few shots. There wasn’t much conversation as it’s hard to talk through thick panes of glass but just seeing familiar faces in person and shooting portraits was enough to keep me sane for just a little bit longer.”
The photos he ended up with are lovely, and not something we usually see in portrait photography. Although, the “portraits through glass” style seems to be getting traction lately. In Jared’ s portraits, I feel the personal connection he has with the people he photographed. There are some photos that are emotional and show how difficult it is for all of us… But the others have put a huge smile on my face because they’re totally goofy!
You can see some of the photos below, and Jared tells us that this is an ongoing project. In other words, more portraits are coming up, so you should follow Jared on Instagram, Facebook, and his blog to keep up to date.