Last spring, when COVID-19 struck our area, two intrepid Housatonic Community College (HCC) photography students set out to document the city of Bridgeport. Their work provides an unsettling and authentic look at how Connecticut’s largest city appeared during that shutdown period, earning them a coveted exhibit on the Social Documentary Network.
After their careers at the Norwalk Housing Authority, Candace Mayer and Curtis Law studied at HCC for over a year on an Independent Study photography project. The two amateur photographers took courses regularly, each with their own style–Mayer favoring photographs that include people, Law preferring shots that are abstract.
Wanting their photography to advance beyond the still lives they typically shot, the pair began studying other photographers, analyzing their work, and emulating their style. With their passion for city planning, they began photographing Bridgeport. And then the pandemic hit.
“They said ‘we can’t photograph outside anymore because of the pandemic,’ and I said, just the opposite, photograph when no one else is photographing. Photograph an event,” remembered Janet Hayes, their photography professor.
From March to May of last year the photographers took hundreds of photos of Bridgeport, building a portfolio that was specific to the time and place. Through careful analysis of their work, they shot and re-shot their images, improving upon them until they had a distilled collection of work.
“We set out to document what the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut looked and felt like during the Governor's Covid-19 shelter-at-home order in spring of 2020. Abandonment, loneliness and isolation reverberated from the empty streets, sidewalks, stores, offices, restaurants and public spaces. Through these photographs you can walk these haunting streets during this unimagined time,” said Mayer and Law.
The pair began looking for places to show their street photography as a social documentary of COVID-19. Their work was accepted by the esteemed Social Documentary Network, which features more than 3,500 exhibits by nearly 2,500 photographers from all corners of the globe. The site offers an exceptional collection of visual storytelling of the world around us.
To view the exhibit, entitled ‘Bridgeport in the time of Covid 19’, visit https://socialdocumentary.net/exhibit/Candace_Mayer_and_Curtis_Law/5159
About Housatonic Community College
Serving southern Connecticut for over 50 years, Housatonic Community College (HCC) offers a student-centered, high quality and accessible education through over 75 associate degree programs to prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The college also offers occupational associate degrees and certificate programs, and the non-credit division partners with local business and industry to offer workforce training and customized professional development. HCC is distinguished as an Achieving the Dream Leader Institution and is ranked by the Aspen Institute among the nation’s top 150 community colleges.
Caption For Photo Above: By Curtis Law. Washington Park, in Bridgeport, CT, festooned in springtimes' variety of lush grass, illuminated cherry blossoms, benches and gazebo is robbed of it's promise with the command to: Stay Safe-Stay Home which everyone is following for fear rules.
Caption For Photo Right: By Candace Mayer. The balance of going and coming to this unequal banking institution echos the cycle that repeats itself.
Caption For Photo Right: y Curtis Law. Has a child raced to safety? The photographic movement reminds how rapidly Covid-19 completely enveloped our lives.
Caption For Photo Right: y Candace Mayer. Proportions of the child to the industrial building reminds us of our own proportion to Covid-19.
Caption For Photo Right: By Candace Mayer. McLevy Green. Will dense urban parks need to be redesigned to promote social distancing necessary to maintain health?