Covid Spring

Spring is busting out all over in Northern California. Explosions of color punctuate Filoli, as its legendary tulip gardens emerge seemingly all at once. Like clockwork, the extraordinary San Jose Rose Garden followed a few short weeks later, and seemingly every home in the Bay Area has new vibrant splashes of color gracing its entryways and median strips.

While it’s a reminder that there are things much bigger than the concerns of man, this Spring has also brought with it a sense of dislocation and disorientation. Along with the roses and tulips, traffic has erupted in recent weeks as if the past year never happened. But with most offices closed and the vast majority of workers still glued to Zoom meetings, there is no logical reason for the crush. Restaurants are increasingly open for business, but curbside eating is still a thing, and people somewhat warily now take indoor tables. There have been recent articles talking about the reluctance of many to just go out and start to live normally—a deep-seated anxiety that normal will not be “normal” again.

This is why documenting this particular Spring seemed to demand its own twist. Literally.

Creating motion blurs imparts a sense of movement, rhythm, and abstraction to stationary, even ordinary things. As this Spring revealed itself, I wanted to capture the beauty of the season, while at the same time underscore the sense that this is not “Spring as normal.” Human activity is distorting all the world’s natural systems. It rains when it should be dry. In parts of the Rockies, it snowed in September, but not in December. Subtropical sea life is showing up in the San Juan’s. And we’re just at the beginning: the beginning of gaining real awareness of the existential challenges to come, but with no plans, no strategies, and no commitment to do anything about them.

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