Late in March 2020, coronavirus entered the common vernacular of Australians. Our borders were closed, and social distancing rules started, followed by the Victorian state government closing ‘non-essential’ services. The places we gathered, pubs, clubs, festivals and sports were shut down.
As a photographer usually documenting live music and performances, festivals, street photography and daily life, my entire occupation ground to a halt. I spent the first few weeks in fear of who was going to die, and every moment being consumed by the virus. Daily walks were a sanctioned luxury where I could go outside. Along the way, I met (at a distance) interesting folk and made portraits.
I desperately needed to continue to create, and this gave me the idea to ask locals if I could photograph them at their homes. For safety and social distancing measures all photos occurred with me outside, them at their front gate, in the backyard or in a paddock with their animals and a couple through their windows.
The series was created between April and June 2020 with over 100 people and 60 households in the Upper Yarra Valley, an area at the very edge of Greater Melbourne.
The photographs capture people just as they are in isolation and documents the eclectic community from drag kings, farmers, cowgirls, families along with their animals.
Households wrote about their isolation experiences and serve as the description to their portraits.
Suzanne Phoenix is a Melbourne photographer, artist, zine and bookmaker. Photos punctuate her life through portraits, performance, music, the street, and daily life. Suzanne won the Upper Yarra Visage Photographic Portrait prize in 2015 and in 2021 is a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize and the Martin Kantor Portrait Prize.
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