Together apart is an ongoing documentary photography series that records the everyday experiences of the Wollongong community as they collectively navigate the stress and volatility of COVID-19. Combining personal stories and portraits it is a moving history of Wollongong during the pandemic.
This project initially documented the early stages of the pandemic, with portraits of households photographed on their front yards and then interviewed, via messenger and phone, about the challenges they were facing under COVID-19. The resulting portraits and stories were posted to a dedicated Facebook page and Instagram account, creating a dynamic feedback loop. With each post more people got involved, sharing the project with their friends, and contributing their own stories, building a rich archive of embodied local experiences.
The series is now expanding, revisiting these same households to create new portraits. Moving beyond their front lawns, into their homes and backyards, documenting the new circumstances the households have found themselves in and the contrast created in the intervening months. The full series of photos and stories can be seen at the exhibition website, Together Apart Wollongong
Sam St Jon is an emerging photographer artist from Wollongong. Through her photography, interviews and online interaction she uncovers and documents the connections between people in her community and the stories that bind them together. Recently her series Together apart has been acquired by the Wollongong Art Gallery, and she was selected for the photography exhibition 2020 Vision which will show as part of the Head On Photo festival in 2021. In March 2021 her work featured in Vital Signs, an annual exhibition that showcases the work of recent visual and new media arts graduates from the University of Wollongong. St Jon is currently working in collaboration with leading Australian photographer artist, Anne Zahalka, to present a contemporary iteration of historical street photographs in the Mercury Gallery, as part of Zahalka’s upcoming exhibition SNAPPED! Street Photography in the Illawarra at the Wollongong Art Gallery from 11 December 2021.
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