Glimpses into early pandemic life at home in Portland’s neighborhoods.

Photography and text by Natalie Gildersleeve

The lockdown happened so fast I became disoriented. I know I was not alone in that. I was talking with a friend on the phone, and she suggested I could come and take photos of her and her family over their fence. I immediately thought that it would be amazing to do that with her family and other friends. I knew it would pull me out of my own heaviness to take pictures of family life and hoped it might bring some light to others as well. I reached out to a group of friends and began the project the next day.

The project really started as a way for me to capture some of the mood I think a lot of people were and still are experiencing during this unprecedented time: the isolation, beauty, hope, uncertainty, loneliness — and, most of all, our shared humanity. We are all experiencing this in a different way, and it felt important to capture that. Because this situation affects people differently, my subjects’ moods were different at each home.

Once stricter restrictions were put in place, I eased off of the project but still photographed a few families on my way to the grocery store or to drop something off to my grandmother. But after another week or so, it just felt like the right time to finish, and my kids were needing me at home — so I turned my attention to being with them and documenting our days together. We have been enjoying our yard, neighborhood walks and the practice of finding beauty wherever we are.

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