The Isolation Diary by Gavin Smart
25 June to 1 July 2020
The Isolation Diary is a gentle meditation on mental health and the value of human companionship amid the COVID-19 crisis. The final project is presented in the form of a visual diary, combining photography and text as if the viewer were reading a very intimate, private journal.
Returning in March from a six-month commission in London to isolate with my girlfriend Rosie, I faced almost no employment or income, and like many across the country, this crisis hit hard, causing feelings of worry, fear, isolation and loneliness.
I set myself the simple task of writing down each of the feelings as they came, turning these words into images. The photographs in this ongoing series are memories of private moments, at times when I felt it most acutely, helping to make sense of this challenging and distressing situation.
The project was given a simple set of aesthetic rules: use only what props were available close to hand, maintain a fixed standard focal length throughout as if seen through one’s own eyes, and feature high ISO grain alongside sensitive post-production to ensure the process is as raw and honest as the emotions themselves.
It is my hope that by sharing my own short story that others may find understanding and compassion in this work, in what can be a very lonely and difficult time. As a gentle response to sensitive issues of mental health, this series quietly celebrates the fragile interpersonal relationships that hold us all together, when everything feels like it is falling apart.
PS: Lastly, I wish to dedicate this series to my kind and loving partner Rosie for her unwavering support during these difficult times. Lockdown was the first time the two of us have lived together, and her comfort and encouragement really mean the world.
© Gavin Smart