Quarantine means a temporary end to physical connection – something hugely important in the creative world. Artists are away from their studios, photographers are away from their subjects, creative directors are away from their teams. Among all this physical separation, it can seem difficult to motivate oneself to be creative, to find the emotional connections that drive the production of art.
Luckily, this physical distance does not mean an end to social connection. Many artists have even been able to find inspiration during this strange time, using the uniquely limited conditions to prompt uniquely creative works of art, often with wonderful results.
Photographer Mert Alas has been especially successful through being creatively and totally inclusive. One half of legendary photography duo Mert and Marcus, Alas created a kind of artistic call to arms, giving creative photography prompts and asking for submissions from people who are self-quarantining through his Instagram.
Alas then used his own creative skills and technical know-how to edit the images, manipulate them digitally or add his art direction, color correct, compile and post them – in effect acting as creative director for a project that is both his and everyone’s. For twelve consecutive days he presented the project as “The Quarantine Days,” a sort of photography journal or online zine.
The photos are amazing; they do genuinely feel like something we would encounter as art. Yet they also have a unique edge that feels unlike anything we have ever encountered, a DIY intimacy that could only have been produced by people honestly but artistically trying to capture their experience of this strange time. The photographs exquisitely capture the unique blend of uncertainty and comfort that pervades being forced to stay at home. In one sense they feel alien, like an intoxicating glimpse into a totally new world, a complete stranger’s life. But they also feel deeply intimate and familiar, tapping into the universal human vulnerability which our isolation has forced us to reckon with.
This is a passion project, and we are truly grateful to Mert Alas and all his contributors for working to create something so selfless and beautiful. They have given us a work of art to reflect on and enjoy, and inspired us to find our own ways to keep our passions alive, or find new ones. Though we are separated from each other physically, our community stays strong.
Editing, Manipulation, Color Correction | Mert Alas Photography | Mert Kiratli, Matthew John Sinnaeve, Spica-Pollux, Andrea Bersanetti, Eden Edenski, Dilan Riel Simoneau, Markos Andriotis, JayJ, Brook Lynn, Paulo Meixedo, Ariel Nicholson, Alexander Foreman, Assorted Books Publishing, Wojtek London, Bitcoin Cardano Nebulas Tron Iota Crypto, Leaon Gordon, Zion, Aleyna, Pedro Ortiz, Zander Hodgson