A World At Home: Connecting Outer Lives and Private Spaces

A Group Photo Exhibition Documenting the First Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nancy Kaye, Curator

In early spring 2020, the world was hit with the novel corona virus pandemic. Around the globe, people turned inward to stem the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19, reducing their worlds to their homes.

In response to our open call, ASMP-LA received pictures and written statements from across the U.S. and as far away as Japan and London that collectively illustrate this unprecedented moment in modern times.

Restricted only by the requirement that images were shot in 2020 and include text to connect the image to the theme, our group exhibition captures a wide range of personal stories and common concerns.

While the sense of isolation was profoundly apparent, the ways of coping were varied and creative. Juggling family and work life was a common theme, as was seeing the new limitations and routines through the eyes of children.

Viewed as a group photo essay, the narrative flows from the emotions of isolation, to managing unexpected challenges, to juggling family and work, and finally to the pull of the outside world.

Our exhibition A World At Home shows the talents of:  

Nancy Kaye is a professional photographer, photo teacher, and curator in Los Angeles, with a background in photojournalism. She serves on the ASMP-LA board as treasurer, and organized their exhibition With Water, Without Water for The Annenberg Space for Photography Presents Photoville LA, last spring.

©Nancy Kaye, COVID-19 Hope, March 21, 2020
Though the streets are empty, people seek to connect with each other during this time of Los Angeles County’s stay at home order.
©John Lee, World at Home 1, Virginia
Another night of insomnia, waiting for COVID-19 to be declared a pandemic. As a dystopian science fiction writer, it is part responsibility and part morbid fascination to keep an ear open for news of any mysterious virus. I began following news of ‘Wuhan virus’ in December of 2019. I shot this looking out past my backyard around 3 a.m. on February 26, 2020.
©Molly Peters, Night Walk, Burbank, CA, May 7, 2020
Subconscious anxieties take form in a shadow on a nighttime walk through my neighborhood. A figure emerges, stretching across the street. I’ve walked by many times, but this is the only time when the shadow from trees and street lights took this form.
©David Zentz, Watching the Days Go By, May 16, 2020
My 1-year-old son passes the time looking at the neighborhood from his bedroom window. In many ways I’m glad all of the recent turmoil is occurring while he is too young to be aware. Nevertheless, we worry about so much isolation at a time when he would otherwise be learning to interact with other children and beginning to experience the world.
©Yulia Tregub Morris, Kira at home, Los Angeles
Kira was photographed via a video call as part of my series Virtual Photographs During the Stay at Home Order.
I have virtually visited homes of people in several countries including France, Russia, Indonesia, Armenia, Ukraine, and multiple states in the USA. I never thought of doing remote photoshoots, but as a creative person and an artist in my soul, I am happy I found this outlet.
©Tracy + David, Stuck At Home, Los Angeles
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, parents had to find creative ways to entertain their children without leaving their home and backyard. Weeks in, a child sits in the window watching people walk by the house, yearning to go outside and play, but feeling limited by the inability to leave.
©Yulia Tregub Morris, Nancy and Spencer, Santa Monica
Nancy and Spencer were photographed via FaceTime as part of my series Virtual Photographs During the Stay at Home Order. I directed them how to set up their phone outside their house and asked them to stand inside. I am glad I found this outlet to practice my creativity as well as stay connected. We are staying at home and no matter how far apart, we are all united and together in this extended period of isolation behind our windows and screens.
©Jeff_Gottesman, Together But Separate, Los Angeles
The 2020 Pandemic has pushed us into our hermetically sealed living spaces. Being forced to move life into our small cocoons, we can be living close to people and yet not know that others exist in close proximity. Together in proximity, but otherwise far apart.
©Nicolas Bates, Looking Back at the World, Los Angeles
Daniela takes a break from normal quarantine procedure to climb atop her rooftop in Silver Lake to stare back at the city she’s almost forgotten about. Daniela was a barback and student, but lost her job due to COVID-19. Frustrated with being bound to her apartment, she climbs on to her rooftop to escape it all. Shot May 2020.
©Denise Crew, AFTER the ANGRY, Silver Lake, Los Angeles
This was shot in my home where my son ripped all the books off his bookcase and threw things around in a rage of anger and frustration with quarantine. We’ve been teaching him that it’s OK to express his anger. He slammed the door of his room then he started throwing things. I looked in to remind him that it’s OK to be angry but we must still have respect for our belongings and not injure himself or anyone else. And I shut the door to let him do his thing. This was the aftermath, the exhaustion and release of getting his anger out. He took everything off of his bookshelves and bed… then lay on top of it.
© Drew Endicott, Cumulus Mediocris Meditation
Kipp Normand—artist, junk collector, armchair historian…misanthrope. Kipp’s main studio is in the Harrison Center in Indianapolis but his home is a wonderland of rare objects, antiques, books, historic materials, and a studio in a converted garage with a vintage letter press machine and a myriad of art-making materials. “A World at Home” during COVID-19 is no sentence of imprisonment for Kipp Normand; he never runs out of ways to be creative or entertain himself.
© Paula Rae Gibson, cross of hope, London, May 2020
This is a photograph of my daughter. I wanted to show her strength as she relies on her inner world, and realizes at this young age that your life and how you react to what happens to you is your doing. I’m amazed by her resilience and how she is studying online, grabbing this time to learn instead of travelling as was planned for her gap year.
©Deborah Hart, “After Covid. Who will be missing from my table?”, N. Hollywood
I captured this on May 12, 2020 in my backyard at the table my family and friends have gathered around for years. I’ve been documenting how different life is outside of our house. As spring approached, I started documenting all my flowers in the yard. I find myself sad to think that no one else will get to appreciate them this year and some might not make it back for our family meals.
©Susan J. Chen, Time Goes By
This is a still from my video ”Time Goes By,” a reflection on the slow passing of time spent at home through the beautiful bending of light around spaces and memories of home. The work was shot while in lockdown during April and May 2020 in Irvine, California. Watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/412569120
©Kim Maroon, Untitled, Boston
A handful of nights battling insomnia, I noticed the glow from my neighbors’ windows. I was immediately drawn to capturing them and reflecting on voyeurism, and the idea of being inside, looking outside to look in. These windows act as portals into the lives of people in my near physical space, yet all of which are unknown to me. My home has taken on many forms as my personal and work life have blended. Here my space becomes a vehicle from which I can view others’ spaces discreetly and attempt to escape mine for a brief moment.
©Mateo Guevara Lemeland, 2019 Flashback, Southampton, MA
This scene is an unmolested remnant of a party held in 2019 and, to me, it represents so much of my desires in this moment — to escape, to have fun again, to “fly away” from this, at times, nightmarish situation. I found so many things about it—from the sombrero as a symbol of my Mexican-American identity, to the single set of darts as a symbol of aloneness, to the “Learn to Fly” sign—to be very fitting in the current circumstance. It was taken in my basement in late April of 2020.
©Sej Saraiya, When Void Comes For Tea, Los Angeles
After being alone for a long period of time, human beings start to experience a void. We’re social animals by nature and community is a big part of our lives. We tend to fear the void. Living in a world where we’re constantly fed with information, we’ve forgotten how to live with the silence, forgotten the Tao concept of simply being, which is an essential aspect of one’s spiritual development. My second visitor was the Void. And instead of busying myself with yet another book, I decided to invite the void in for tea and conversation. This photo was shot in May 2020 in the backyard of my home.
©Sej Saraiya, Loneness, Los Angeles
Loneness is the first of a series of nine photographs created during the quarantine. The series demonstrates the metaphorical “visitors” I had during the lockdown period when having company over wasn’t allowed. The photographs testify to the various emotions a majority of the people felt during these unprecedented times. The first visitor was: Loneliness. It was shot on a beach in Los Angeles on June 5, 2020 after the ban was lifted.
©Ian Spanier, Bree, Los Angeles, April 24, 2020
This was part of a “safe shoot” where both subject and I met safely after a quarantine period. As a commercial photographer, I wanted to showcase my ability to shoot at home if needed, as an early anticipation/adaption of quarantine life. We played with the idea of a piece of fabric in homage to an Herb Ritts image we tried this set-up. Ironically it represents a bit of this new world we are living in, with something between our skin and others.
©Jeff_Gottesman, Corona Groceries, Los Angeles, May 29, 2020
Me: No, Instacart, cheesecake is not a good substitution for charcoal.
Me: No Instacart, you may have delivered the groceries, but it was not to my house.
Me: No Instacart, you will not find eggplant with the plants or the eggs. It’s purple, looks like a football and will be in the produce section.
©Alyce Henson, Puzzle Time With Grace
During a week in April 2020 I took care of my niece, Grace while both of her parents were working full-time. They hadn’t fully worked out childcare since her mom started a new job and Grace wasn’t in school during the day. Even under the strangest of circumstances during COVID-19, as an Aunt it was a treat for me to have this time with her doing puzzles, helping with homework, and brief trips to the park to play.
©Alyce Henson, Hive Inspection, Logan Square neighborhood, Chicago. May 22, 2020
Vicki Capalbo and Blake Beckstrom, backyard urban beekeepers for eight years, open hives to inspect the health of the colony. Beekeeping is one of the few things they could continue to enjoy while complying with the required social distancing practices.
©Kevin B. Jones, Pandemic Beekeeping, San Francisco, May 7, 2020
Despite the stay at home lock down orders, I and other beekeepers still need to prepare our bee hives for stationing. Bees are the primary pollinators for the majority of the plants grown here in California. At the end of the day there is no food source without them.
©Denise Crew, Gardening, Los Angeles, January 13, 2020
Our family started gardening during the quarantine. This was shot at my home in Silver Lake in Los Angeles. My family always had dreams of gardening in our yard but we never had the time. So now we have the time! And we also needed good projects for home schooling a 5 year old. This is my son attending to his seedlings of lettuce in the windowsill.
©Molly Peters, Regrowth, Los Angeles, May 3, 2020
After years of not owning plants due to my travel schedule, I’m now moving various plants throughout the day to maximize their exposure to the sunlight in my apartment. Like many people, I’ve been experimenting with regrowing vegetables from scraps while staying home.
©Gail Fischer, Flowers for Hope, Massachusetts
“Images of Hope, During COVID-19, “ came about from the hopeless feeling of not being able to do anything to help others. Using flashlights, color gels, and plexiglass shapes in my basement I created light drawings of pretty flowers. I posted the “electric flowers” to social media as a way to cheer other people —and made cards for the ER staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
©Denise Crew, Mani Pedi, Los Angeles, January 13, 2020
My son Axel paints my toenails. It’s always been a fun thing for us to do together — going to get a mani pedi before the quarantine — so now I’m letting him express his artistic skills on my toes instead.
©Tracy + David, Zoom Dance Party, Los Angeles
When COVID-19 hit the area, people started finding creative ways to socialize from home. Zoom happy hours and dance parties became the new normal. Crystal says the one benefit is that she gets to see her friends from all over the world more frequently now than she did previously, as they gather online at least once per week to socialize.
©Kaveh Sardari, Love In the Time of Corona, April 12, 2020
As we learn to deal with the unknown aspects of COVID-19 and its transmission, we need to re-think our previous concepts of safety and intimacy. This image explores our need to balance the risk of being exposed to the virus with our need for seduction and intimacy.
©Jonathan Mark Hedrick, Uncertainty, 7 Days Asunder, Los Angeles
The series “7 Days Asunder” was shot over the course of seven days during the pandemic. I converted a room in my apartment into a camera obscura and invited friends and family to pose with me for 2 minute-long exposures. The nature of inverse imaging from the technique lends itself to the feelings of an upside-down world and the darkness of isolation and depression. “Uncertainty” from the series, “7 Days Asunder” was shot during the first month of the coronavirus pandemic. This depicts how being isolated from the rest of the world can allow someone to be uncertain about their established reality, in contrast to an idea that things are “okay”.
©Alexandra Olsufiev, Bortsch, Paris
I got locked down in Paris where I had already started being vegan for 47 days. Confinement helped me be even more creative and travel through food. This is one of a Russian bortsch. I am a French asylum lawyer with Russian and Romanian origins and lived close to 10 years in Moscow. I miss the excitement and my amazing friends. This soup reminds me of the dinners I was hosting. It is a traditional Russian recipe from a 19th century book, with some French chef influences and my own touch.
©Tracy + David, Athlete Adapting, Orange County, California
When pools and gyms were closed due to COVID-19, athletes had to figure out creative ways to stay in shape and continue pursuing their sports, even when they couldn’t practice as a team or use facilities. Swimmers had to find creative ways to stay in shape, including using bungee cords to create resistance to make use of a small backyard pool.
©Tracy + David, Volleyball Practice With Dad, Orange County, California
When gyms closed and sports teams stopped practicing, kids were unable to finish the spring season of their sport. Here, a dad plays volleyball in the street with his two daughters using a makeshift net, as a way to help them continue progressing in their sport and to stay in shape.
©Victor Villegas, No Tennis, Los Angeles, March 26, 2020
With an interest in tennis both as a player and as a photo subject, and having curated an exhibit about African-American tennis professionals at Museum and Library, I was aware of how the pandemic limited ways we could exercise. Us tennis players had to take a long break. Courts were closed in late March and not reopened until late May. As of 6/2/20, players have to play singles, and doubles is not allowed yet. These locked courts are in Marina Del Rey.
©Jim Krantz, Neighborhood Downtime Portrait Series, Los Angeles, May 1, 2020
Great friends Alison and Garret, like the rest of us, hanging in there and making the most of it together. Shot in the Beachwood Canyon neighborhood, this is part of a series from the neighborhood during the days of isolation due to coronavirus.
©Katie Addo, Scout and Daddy at Dinner, Buffalo, NY
This was taken in April in our kitchen at home. We have been enjoying the ritual of dinnertime together and look forward to it each day as it signals the close of these seemingly endless days. This was a moment of Scout being goofy and Greg savoring this moment of joy.
David Zentz, The New Work-life, Los Angeles
Under stay-at-home orders my wife has been fortunate to be able to continue working, usually occupying what is normally my home office in order to maintain focus away from our 1-year-old. Of course, he manages to find her from time to time. Despite the distraction she’s enjoying the extra time working from home allows her to spend with the family.
©Denise Crew, Work From Home, January 13, 2020
I shot this at our home in Silver Lake in Los Angeles, California. This is my family: my husband, two sons and Sheepadoodle dog, Lola. This is what working from home looks like during the quarantine with two kids. My husband was trying to work and have a morning espresso but the kids also needed a lot of attention.

©Mara Zaslove, Outside Office
Those that are fortunate enough to still have a job have adapted to working from home. Taken while walking in my neighborhood during the week, this man and his dog soak up the sun while multitasking. Besides companionship, it seems that pets have been enjoying more attention from their owners being housebound.
©John Lee, World at Home 2, Virginia
Colin Sapsford draws a reminder of the COVID-19 lockdown. It has been two months since the president declared COVID-19 a pandemic but social distancing warps perception of time; it seems as if it’s been two years. Shot this outside my house on May 14, 2020
©John Lee, Hand Sanitizer, Virginia
As some states begin to ease back on the COVID-19 quarantine policy, here in Virginia, Collin Raetz dutifully applies hand sanitizer. My hands are very dry from being washed so frequently. I shot this on my back deck at 6 p.m. on May 22nd, 2020.
©Tracy + David, MBA From Home, San Juan Capistrano, California
When COVID-19 hit, schools were closed, and Ryan had to finish his graduate school semester doing classes on Zoom from the dining room table. Often in the evening, after working all day, he sits at the table studying or working with classmates online, while his kids do their homework at the table next to him.
©Leo Vaucher, Family Survival Kit, Irvine, CA, May 15, 2020
Going out of the house for groceries or a walk is now impossible without a mask, no matter what the mask is made of. Some fight online for a chance to find a mask—others make their own and innovate. But gas masks work as well…
©Edward Crandall, Foyer, Saga, Japan, May 14, 2020
When the children went back to school after weeks of stay-at-home, something new appeared in our foyer: a small table with a box on top that contains masks, antiseptic hand wipes, and a thermometer. These items have become a necessary part of going to school every day. How long will they have to remain in the foyer?
©Rob Aft, Essential Worker, Los Angeles, CA, April 4, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our conception of what makes workers essential to our daily lives. This woman’s job is to sanitize the surfaces that multiple people might touch along the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA. She spoke no English (I speak Spanish) and likely is not well paid, but she had a cheery attitude. I like to think that this is because her work is valued in this new era.
©Rob Aft, Patriots?, Los Angeles, May 1, 2020
On May Day I checked out the Anti-Lockdown protests at City Hall. It was interesting to try to figure out what drove these people. It seemed to be a vague idea of “freedom” and a belief that there was an organized effort to take theirs
away. There was a lot of anger and fear but mostly a sort of party atmosphere — blowing off steam on a beautiful afternoon in downtown LA.
©Roger Wyan, Wait Here, California, April 2, 2020
Like many people during these trying times of COVID-19 I’ve taken on new projects around the house. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak social distancing became the new normal. Stores like Lowe’s in Merced, California reminded customers checking out where to stand, maintaining the necessary six-foot distance to remain safe from spread of the disease. Home improvement stores were very busy as people like myself took on home projects to pass the time during the pandemic.
©Roger Wyan, Social Distancing in an Elevator, California, May 21, 2020
This is an important picture for me because I have underlying health issues, which bring me to Stanford Health Care in San Jose, California once a month for treatment. A crowded elevator is a source of stress for some people depending on their own health issues. This woman turns her face into the corner in an effort to further protect herself from airborne coronavirus germs.
©Rob Aft, Mariachi, Los Angeles
Mariachis represent more than just music to the Mexican-American community. They are a vital connection to culture and celebration. Los Angeles is blessed with some of the best Mariachis north of the border, but their livelihood is threatened by COVID-19. They still wait for gigs in Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights where this picture was shot on May 8th. I thought this man projected strength in the face of adversity while also representing the silence. Harmonies are crucial to Mariachi performance, and, in the most simplistic terms, the virus has silenced their voices.
©Rob Aft, Grandma’s Pandemic Birthday, Los Angeles, May 4, 2020
The neighbors asked me to take a family portrait at the grandmother’s birthday party on their front lawn. We waited for the grandson to arrive, and he forgot his mask. This is the moment when the group scolded him in unison, his sister clung to their mother, and the father rushed to secure his mask. It was funny to shoot a socially-distanced portrait of the family.
©Roger Wyan, Auto Mask, California, April 2020
This image fits the theme “A World at Home” because I see my house and the surrounding community as my extended home. George Regalo of Merced, California displays a sense of humor during the pandemic outbreak. Mr. Regalo handmade an N95 mask for his classic 1958 BMW Isetta automobile. Using his sewing machine at home he stitch the extra large mask and said he enjoyed watching people smile when they saw his car. On the back he strapped down a six-pack of toilet paper for additional laughs.
©Roger Wyan, Drive Thru HS Graduation, California, June, 2020
The family of a graduating senior at Golden Valley High School in Merced, California makes lots of noise during the quick drive-through ceremony held in the parking lot of the school. This image is important to me because my own daughter graduated this year from college and the event we so looked forward to for many years was not to be.
©Mara Zaslove, Staying Positive, Los Angeles
Since the start of the virus, I have rarely been in my car. The other day, when taking my dog to the Vet, I passed by a sign that seems to be posted many places in Los Angeles. Here, in Santa Monica, the homeless are a part of our community experience. Often, while driving, if I see something interesting I find myself turning the car around to try and capture it photographically. This man was happy to pose for me.

3 responses to “A World At Home: Connecting Outer Lives and Private Spaces”

  1. Wonderful exhibit. I know one of the photographers (Roger Wyan) but all the photographers have captured special moments that have defined this crisis.

    • Belated thanks for your feedback on the ASMP World at Home exhibition.Indeed Roger Wyan added an interesting perspective. Check out the other group project(s) I did about the pandemic. Over the course of 2020 – to July 2021 — it creates a visual timeline https://bit.ly/CaptureBeginnings2021 (scroll down for links to all exhibits)
      Hope you’ll join more ASMP events in 2022. Happy New Year