Using webcam and Google Earth, Nicola Cordì’s diptychs show life in lockdown, from the inside, and outside
At the time of writing, Italy has just entered their 10th week of lockdown. Last week, parks, factories and building sites reopened, but restaurants and bars remain closed, and strict social distancing measures are still in place. Documenting life during lockdown has been a challenge for many photographers, who are unable to get close to their subjects under the current restrictions. Some have turned to a piece of technology that has been a lifeline for many of us during this extended period of isolation — the webcam.
Milan-based photographer Nicola Cordì began his project, Italy of the Spring 2020, out of curiosity. He wanted to see how friends, acquaintances and strangers were spending their time in lockdown, and the webcam provided the perfect tool to do so. But making portraits through a webcam is not a simple task. As he would in a real-life shoot, Cordì studied the light in subjects’ homes, asking them to send photos and videos of each room at different times during the day. The shooting process also required a lot of patience, but “I think it was more tiring for the subjects, who had to disassemble and reassemble their own home,” Cordì reflects.
Cordì felt that the portraits alone were not enough to capture the reality of social isolation that people are experiencing. Using Google Earth, the photographer travelled to each subject’s neighbourhood, capturing the landscape in which they are spending their isolation, accentuating the solitude of the individual’s experience, as well as the wider society, and the city itself.
After taking the images, the photographer sent his subjects a series of questions. Presented alongside the diptychs, the response shows “how each of us faces the same situation.”
“I was amazed at how different people in different places have incredibly similar thoughts and experiences,” says Cordì, who shares his images, and his subjects’ reflections, below.
“Today I found the courage to get dressed and go out for the first time in 10 days, to go to the pharmacy. I ran out of air as soon as I took a step outside”Milan
“This morning I ran off on a dirt road, then I felt guilty and I went back home. If we were plants, we would be ready to bloom”Turano Lodigiano, Lombardy.
“If we were trees, right now we would be breathing like it hadn’t happened in a long time”
“If we were goldfish, we would be used to living in a glass bubble”Palermo
“Fortunately, or unfortunately, I don’t remember what i dream. I only understand the emotions I felt from how I wake up in the morning”Settimo Milanese, Lombardy