There are strange elements of connection within this phenomenon of social distancing: not only is the whole world experiencing it simultaneously, but we also seem to share a global momentum of awareness that something unique is taking place, which demands to be documented and gradually understood.
Moved by that impulse and under the guidance of professor Erieta Attali, 16 students from The Cooper Union, explored, through photography, their everyday life now ruled by isolation and social distancing. And they did so, not from a single city, but from 10 different places, as they returned to their home countries amidst the crisis.
The premise for this exercise was simple yet complex: Photography is not only a technique or a documentation method; it is first and foremost a way to read our environment visually, to examine our relationship to the land, to public life, to architecture as well as their interplay. Photography is a way of seeing but also a choice of what to see, and how to look at it.
Today, when our cities are revealing themselves to us in ways that were inconceivable before, photographs become visual reflections of a human experience and life that suddenly assert themselves through absence —public spaces that loom huge and unfamiliar in their emptiness—, while our homes and our intimacy are permanently challenged —virtually or physically— by the “new normal”.
Hence, the subjective point of view of city dwellers (which most of us are) is forced to adapt to a new reality; our relation to the visible and invisible life of the city unfolds behind a wall, almost like on a theater stage; we are looking toward the city from a distance, through a window; now, our only window. This view, reveals a new landscape under the context of a pandemic reality and its continuous invisible “threat”.
Tomás Mor (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Raymond Tan (Manhattan, New York)
Carmen Maldonado (Maryland)
Andrew Song (Toronto, Canada)
Nadja Martinovic (Queens, New York)
Earl Kwofie (California)
San Simeon Koizumi (Brooklyn, New York)
Frederick Rapp (Miami, Florida)
Tianyang Sun (California)
Alice Meng (Manhattan, New York)
Michael Sluchevsky (Rockland County, New York)
Sarah Saad (Queens, New York)
Kyungmin Park (Manhattan, New York & Seoul, Korea)
Andrew Lam (Manhattan & Long Island, New York)
Sean Lee (Manhattan, New York)
Sandra Miao (Dalia, China)
Sebrina Leventis (Brooklyn, New York)
The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union
Architectural Photography: Between Time & Space
Spring 2020 (March 30- May 4)
Professor: Erieta Attali
Teaching Assistant: Carmen Maldonado