Eszter Papp
Bali, Indonesia

Our Social Distance is a personal documentation project born out of frustration from the physical-distancing imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unable to physically create photographic portraiture, and interact with subjects, I have been experimenting with online video via livestream to test the boundaries of the creative constraints we find ourselves in 2020. The subjects are also asked to share about their lockdown and write down their thoughts on what their dreams, hopes and wishes are and what kind of world they want to live in after Covid.

The series is a creative adaptation to these times and a way to show the various ways people worldwide are morphing their behaviours, routines and lives to adapt to their new realities.

It also poses questions on the future of photography and the ever-increasing role of screens in our lives. What does the future of photography look like? Will phones, computers, tablets and other devices move further into the photographic conversation? Will we see a rise of photography through screens, and if so, what obstacles and opportunities will this afford us? Is the screen a distortion of reality or a reflection of our 2020 times?
The project began in March 2020 and is ongoing. To date, I have taken portraits of people in The United States of America, Indonesia, Hungary, Israel, Singapore, Denmark, Italy, Thailand and New Zealand.

This has been a learning photographic experience for me. I have found unique relationships forming with subjects online through the screen. Even though I am photographing strangers, the encounters also turned into conversations, first meetings in a new social environment.

At times, the process has felt restricted in terms of image quality and internet limitations, however, it has also been liberating to create something new and different. I hope many people can access the same feeling in different ways during this period and use it as a time to reset and re-evaluate our values.

- Eszter