The Photographic Journal

Portraits in the Age of Quarantine

Essay 437 • Apr 20th 2020

The last three weeks have changed the United States of America.

It’s the beginning of March in New York City and everything starts to shut down. Coronavirus sweeps the city and before I know it everyone is in self-isolating quarantine. The United States is, quite literally, shut down. We have a global pandemic at hand.

But what does that mean for art? What does that mean for the artists and creators? What does that mean for the lives and careers that thrive off of human interaction?

It means we have to adapt. We have to find new and innovative ways to make work. We have to harness ways to capture the essence of another’s soul sans the human contact.

I began photographing my friends through FaceTime. It began to grow, and I began to shoot new faces from different cities. I started making images that felt like my perception of the world again.

Most importantly, I felt something I hadn’t felt in weeks and weeks. I felt the satisfaction of connecting with my subject in real time. I was creating and cultivating my vision without physically being there.

And in that moment, I felt I could see again.


Sydney Claire Altschuler is a Fashion and Editorial photographer based in NYC. Sydney graduated with a B.F.A. from Lesley College of Art and Design, where she learned to work with color, composition, and light. Since graduating, Sydney has become known as a connected artist-entrepreneur who is not afraid to creatively push the envelope. In her work, Altschuler swiftly cuts through normative boundaries, tendencies, or assumptions to expose them for what they are. Her true skill and passion lies in capturing the rich diversity of the human experience.
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