In her series The Distance Projekt, the photographer Lucia Bartl addresses the impact of the lockdown on the lives of her loved ones. Her tender images are taken at a certain distance from the subject, as prescribed.
As if he were frightened by the camera or afraid of the times we live in, little Mattis ducks behind the table as Lucia Bartl snaps a picture. It was this image that inspired the photographer to launch a series during this historic lockdown in her home country of Germany.
Her loved ones, neighbors, other citizens she crosses paths with on her rare outings all bear witness to the concerns of the moment. Their faces are often serious and focused, an impression that is further accentuated by the pearly light falling across their features. People do what they always do, but there is a clear sense that something has changed, that something has happened to undermine their ordinary confidence.
Anna was supposed to travel to Africa, and she wonders when she will be able to make the journey. Inga is an artist: although all her exhibitions have been canceled, she continues to work. In another picture, a man plays the saxophone in the street and, learning about the photographer’s project, decides, “I’m going to play the Blues.” A sense of sadness hovers over the pictures as the familiar world is coming apart in the face of an uncertain future. However, some take things in stride, like the photographer’s partner who noted philosophically: “In this time of distance, joy becomes more and more a way of rebellion. Sometimes it is important to just close your eyes for a moment and be happy. No matter what is happening outside.”