CAPTURE THIS MOMENT:
Nancy Kaye, Instructor and Curator
Organized by the Soraya Sarah Nazarian Program in Fine Arts
A GROUP PHOTO ESSAY DOCUMENTING THIS UNIQUE TIME OF THE ONGOING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
At the start of summer 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic continued, some states saw the infection rate of COVID-19 lessen. Stores and restaurants were allowed to reopen and, after months of adhering to strict stay-at-home orders, people stepped out to enjoy the warmer weather—with varying degrees of caution.
In July, as cases of the virus rose again, participants in AJU’s photography workshop Capture This Moment met via Zoom to reflect on how the world has changed and how they themselves have changed.
Through their photographs and written statements, we see an appreciation of beauty in the ordinary, a concern tor social justice, and expressions of hope. While connecting with others continues to rely on technology, “personal bubbles” came together for outdoor socializing with masks. Celebrations and rituals took creative forms, from sidewalk Shabbat blessings to backyard birthdays and bat mitzvahs.
This collective photo essay is a testament to strength and innovation at this unique moment in time.
The workshop, lead by Nancy Kaye—professional photographer, educator, and curator—served not only as a creative outlet for students, but also as a way of sharing experiences and connecting with others in an empathetic way.
The resulting exhibition includes the work of: Lloyd Delaney, Bunni Dybnis, Arthur Grebow, Nancy Kaye, Lisa Kohn, Lauren Lau, Sara Leikin, Edie Levenson, Don Loze, Rachel Rubin-Green, Amber Lynn Scott, Rabbi Lynn Brody Slome, Marilyn Stern, William Weisband, and Harley Wishner.
Click here to register for the upcoming cycle, starting August 12!
The pandemic has made people much more aware of their personal bubbles. This sculpture at the park reminded me of how fragile our bubbles can be.
I had a cage built to protect my tomato plants from squirrels, just like staying home protects us from the coronavirus. The plants represent people infected with COVID-19; some thriving, some dying and others doing okay.
During continuing weeks and months of our isolation from COVID-19, I’m focusing my iPhone on individual elements of ”here” in the finite boundaries of our homestead. The whole was always present, but the limitation of “now” gifts insights to subtle differences in colors, an infinity of shapes, contrasts of light and shadow and the awe of space – wide and narrow. Though isolated, I’m grateful.
The beauty of a rose from our homestead.
Quarantine has allowed people all over the world to spend more time with their pets. My sister and I take advantage of the time by sleeping next to our dogs at night.
During my effort to uncover the secrets of COVID-19 quarantine with my lens, I saw through my dog’s eyes a world changed by the pandemic. Instead of days full of napping, Sergio the dog now spends his days “guarding” his daddy at the computer. Taking this photo, I imagined that the real secret is that Sergio enjoys having him at home all of the time. Rather than feeling a burden of having his naptime disrupted, Sergio is secretly relishing the extra time and attention he gets with us every day. The deeper secret is that at 15 years old, we know each day with Sergio is a gift — and we are relishing the extra time with him, too.
I like to start my morning with a big mug of hot tea and to sit down and read the news. On this warm July morning, I went outside to enjoy the day and got hit with the bad news of “…U.S. Deaths Begin Trending Higher.” Will this pandemic ever end?
Welcome to my home. In the beginning of the pandemic, I had a very difficult time concentrating and keeping my attention on the page of a book. Eventually, I went back to my beloved cookbooks and gardening books, spending time flipping through the pictures and slowly I was able to go back to reading other books that spoke to me.
When the stores had shortages of toilet paper, it seemed like a good idea to figure out how long a roll might last.
COVID-19 has forced our family to remain indoors, and it was during this time that I caught my own reflection in the mirror. The image was captured while attempting to photograph my fiancée working. The title of this series – secrets – reflects my effort to unveil secrets hidden in homes during COVID-19. In this image my own secret is exposed – instead of capturing my fiancée unawares as he works, I captured my own secret hidden hobby.
It’s bad enough my mother-in-law is suffering mightily from dementia. While taking her out or visiting has stopped, we can’t quite explain everything to her. Her reality is that we never come anymore. Since we had previously Face Timed when we vacationed in Maui, she believes we’re there.
It has been wonderful cooking and baking with my adult daughter while she has been living with us during the pandemic. What a treat to bake challah together.
The flag was dutifully hung outside. Even our masked door statue held a small flag. But somehow, I couldn’t make breakfast in bed for the best husband in the world spark joy within me. No fireworks for me this year or for any of us really. How can we celebrate freedom as we remain captives in our respective houses?
When the official firework shows were cancelled, people all over Villa Park in Orange County started their own displays at 7:30.
I needed to go to the Century City Mall and I was looking forward to a little break from being mostly at home. What I found was a bit of a ghost town. This movie billboard, “A Quiet Place” could not have been more accurate. I was lucky to catch this one man bringing back an iced tea to a friend. I wonder when we will be able to see a movie in a theatre again.
As a retired surgeon and current medical educator, I tend to look at my surroundings through a tainted lens. I am most appreciative of those establishments and individuals who have realized the importance of protecting one another and of course our healthcare workers. To all of you so motivated I offer my heartfelt gratitude and say, “Thank You.”
Mort’s Deli was the first restaurant that we found when we moved to Tarzana about thirty-five years ago. It was never fancy, but the food was good and the service was great. Even though we changed (sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse) Mort’s never changed. Like the rest of us it is trying to hang on.
On the day this photo was taken, the COVID-19 infection rate in California was once more on the rise and the governor was again modifying protocols for restaurant dining. The periodic changes of regulations with respect to restaurants have made it confusing — and seemingly inconsistent — as to whether dining out includes dining inside.
As I spoke with this lady whose work as a portrait and fashion photographer has slowed considerably, I again appreciate the human capacity to do whatever it takes. As we can see, she is also doing whatever it takes to be protective of others, for which we all must be appreciative.
“To wear or not to wear, that is the question.” Or perhaps there is no question in the minds of some.
These girls look completely comfortable chatting away, keeping their distance and wearing masks, yet engaged in conversation. I couldn’t help but hear the uncertainty in the voice of the girl on the left. She was sharing with her friend her concerns about entering college. Where will she be living? Will her classes be in person or online? I understand this dilemma too, as both my daughters head off to their graduate programs. This virus is breeding uncertainty in everyone.
I wanted to get a sense of how people were coping and so I visited the Palisades Park area of Santa Monica. Most people are compliant with the need to wear masks and maintain distance; however, some feel very strongly that this is an affront to their freedom. This person was more the exception than the rule…
A new kind of trash to clutter our world.
I do the family shopping and there are many new and important rules to keep everyone safe.
This image is self-explanatory. I understand that there are those who feel that rules were meant to be broken or that the rules don’t apply to them. What continues to puzzle me however is why there are those who feel it is okay to break these rules when the safety of all of us is at stake.
Molly is a young farmer who is using the power of Community Sponsored Agriculture to keep her business thriving during the pandemic. An environmentalist, she hopes to find a better way than single-serve plastic bags.
One of the joys of the farmers market is interacting with farmers and their produce. During the pandemic, masks and social distancing are mandatory so that the market can remain open.
I used to take reusable bags everywhere. Now I find myself with countless plastic bags, (formerly OUTLAWED!) piling up non-stop in my recycling. SPOILER ALERT! THEY AREN’T REALLY BEING RECYCLED! NO ONE WANTS OUR GARBAGE OR RECYCLING. What happens when a vaccine is found? Will we have survived to find we’ve killed the earth? It won’t take till 2050 for plastic bags to outnumber fish. It will be very much sooner.
Our shopping experience changes weekly to help keep everyone safe. While in line at the grocery store there are many new signs and arrangements. First, there was a plastic window to keep shoppers separate from the cashier to protect them both. Next time, it became a billboard with an array of important messages. Now I can bring my own bags, as long as I do my own bagging. Even though it is cluttered, all the messages are important and come through.
At 7 pm every Friday night during the pandemic, the Jewish neighbors on my street gather in front of Miriam and Marvin’s house to welcome the Sabbath. We wear masks and family groups stand socially distant from one another. We sing a blessing for the sick and for the healers, and then Miriam leads the blessing while Marvin takes the candles into their house to light them. Our Israeli neighbor, whose name I still do not know, and whose home proudly displays an American flag, leads the Kiddush prayer over wine. Another neighbor blesses the Challah and gives bites to everyone who wants a piece. Then each family unit returns to their own homes for Shabbat dinner.
After a two-month hiatus, my longtime friends and I continue our weekly game of Maj Jong. Rotating backyards, we catch up over lunch and continue on with our iPads in hand and virtual game online. With so-so Internet, forgotten cards, and uncharged computers, there’s not much playing but it’s a great time to connect.
Before COVID-19, I hadn’t finalized plans to celebrate my birthday. I thought about going on a family trip or having a party. Instead I had a lovely celebratory lunch, complete with masks, preordered food, and seats six feet apart. Spending time with friends and family made my day. No one was rushing to go anyplace like we would have been if we weren’t in a pandemic. Although my birthday celebration wasn’t what I thought it would have been, it was special and given the circumstances far exceeded my expectations.
It was extremely nice to be able to celebrate my birthday with my family on the east coast. Thank you, Zoom!
Since we can’t go to in person Shabbat services, I decided to bring them into our home. Sinai Temple’s cantorial intern, David Childs, is playing the accordion.
Imagine working a year or more with a student, leading up to what turns out to be a virtual Bat Mitzvah. I don’t know if I, as the Rabbi, was more disappointed or she was. But we soldiered on together in this surreal experience. I conducted the service as I normally would, until I noticed in horror as one guest munched on a turkey leg and others showed up in bathing suits. Has COVID-19 given us a pass on decorum?
In March when this family asked me to photograph their daughter’s June Bat Mitzvah it seemed so far off and, at the time, shocking to think it couldn’t be held at a synagogue. Nonetheless, the Rabbi brought a Torah to their backyard, a small group gathered for the service, and Zoom was set up for the other guests. The celebration was filled with joy and pride.
At a safe outdoor movie night, my friends make finger guns as an alternative to smiling behind their masks.
Angelinos have a passion for going to the beach. This fellow is getting himself ready to leave, mask in place.
The Ballona Creek Footbridge in Culver City afforded an opportunity to be outdoors and avoid crowds.
To get some fresh air, my mom and I take walks in this park in Newport Beach. Along the path are some interesting things, such as sculptures, wind vanes, and this bridge that crosses a marsh.
I’m getting old. I feel it as the pandemic rages on. I used to routinely get up early and enjoy the sunrise, but until I had to be outside driving towards it to get to the store by 6, I had forgotten how beautiful the mornings can be. Arriving at the store, I am jolted back to reality with the guard and the masks, the Purell and the wipes. But mostly it’s the panicked, masked faces, wondering: Will I be able to get what I need, or face empty shelves again?
A parent and child bicycle down Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, CA past boarded up storefronts, following days of protests over the killing of George Floyd and racial injustice. Crowded protests spawned widespread signs of public support for reform.
Our little town of Sebastopol, CA responded quickly to current social unrest in America’s street with heartfelt signage much like we saw on the newly constructed fence surrounding the White House. The many posters seemed to appear almost instantaneously by our locally concerned community. When I first saw what was done, I felt proud to live in and be a part of this town.
As I was driving south on De Soto Avenue, I came across this fabulous sign on the site of Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills. I had to stop my car and take a picture. I know this facility well. It is where I used to take my Father for his many doctor’s appointments.
During a period of protests for racial justice across the country, a sign of support hangs in the window of a Culver City house.
This is one of many memorials to George Floyd in Los Angeles.
I love this window display because it is clear and tells me what this company has done to take action to uplift and empower the Black Community because they matter. I like to hear clear and direct messages — it makes me feel safe and protected.
Painting these stones took a while, but putting them around the neighborhood was fun. We hid them in places where people would be surprised, such as in a hedge or up on a tree branch.
A nice antidote to the news of the day. Rocks with hand-painted positive messages can be found while out for neighborhood walks.
By chance, this lovely lady was walking past me and most happy to model her homemade mask. What she may not have realized is that she was sending a dual message to both Stay Safe while Caring For and Protecting Others. To her and all like her I can only say “Be Safe and Thank You.”
An urban legend? I had grown up hearing that my Uncle Shrullik, AKA, The Zaide Pesach, lived to 114. I never quite believed it, until Ancestry found him at the beginning of the 1918 Pandemic. Did he appear to give me hope? He did, and I’m glad. We’ll get through this!