photo essay

Fragments of a whole

by sylviagusan

Bringing together instants photographed by diverse authors, sylviagusan finds consolation and hope in our abundant capacity for connection and creation, despite the social distancing in the midst of a pandemic

The doctor in neuropsychology, Richard Davidson, affirms that the basis of a healthy brain is kindness, which can be cultivated along with everything it involves: connectivity, empathy, sociability… Our happiness is directly linked to what happens to others, and not just to what happens to us as individuals.


It’s been already four months of this sudden change that slapped us in the face. It threw us out of balance the first days, weakened us, halted us completely. It forced us to look outwards and carefully observe ourselves inwards. How many times do we carry our lives like a non stopping record? It comes to a point when you no longer pay attention to the songs, they simply sound and sound. But how beautiful it is to listen to the lyrics, the bass, the solos, to hum!

“We thought we were giants, but we hid like ants...”

Jorge Lozano H.

This time has been filled with moments of adaptation, human relations are learning to relate again, to maximize connection, when most of the time the only way to relate to each other is through technology that generates emptier relationships. In this context, it is inevitable to feel curious about how will our interactions with others be, once we can leave our houses with ease. What will we have learned during these months of meditation and isolation?

For me, the first week of march was suffocating. I thought about my family, I felt an immense need to hug them. Despite all, I have had a quiet process, I enjoy solitude and introspection, up to a certain point, of course. I took it one day at a time, focusing on the positives. But I couldn't stop wondering, how were the others? As sensible and social persons, we often don’t dare to ask because we don’t want to hear the answers. At first, I didn’t dare to ask others how they were doing because I was afraid of hearing that not well, and if they were not well, what could I do? And if they have symptoms? And if they lost their jobs? And if?... But suddenly you realize that in order to solve something, you must be able to face the problem.


These feelings of curiosity and of wanting to face the situation led me once again to photography as a form of interaction. This essay is a blend of 17 photographers of different nationalities and residencies (Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Peru, Belgium) who shared with me their greatest longings in these times of privacy. As photographers, we tend to get blocked a lot. We are supposed to work with images and transform our feelings through them, but very often, the more we feel, the less we are able to create. So for some, this exercise meant forcing themselves, in a good way, to let go and somehow, breathe. To have a purpose in the short run, and connect again. Parallel to this, I made a survey through social media asking people what it was they missed the most at the beginning of the pandemia, and what would be “the one thing” they would do when they returned to “normality”. The answers were diverse, but in general, very consistent: go out without fear, socialize, visit their mothers, travel, enjoy nature, go see grandparents, friends, go to a bar, to the sea… Hug! Other answers were about loneliness, or simply, uncertainty. I shared these answers with the photographers, so that we could feel close to strangers and realize that we were not alone. And I think we all felt that.


We are social beings, we depend on others. I want to keep thinking and feeling like this. Even if the rules change, even if new ways of life and interaction are imposed upon us, I believe in people’s kindness, I believe that we will emerge with positive lessons, that we will become aware that we can stop this individualism in which we’ve dove deeply, to resurge into our true nature: a collective life.

Echo de menos el mar. Barcelona, España. Albert Masias.
I miss the sea. Barcelona, Spain. Albert Masias.



D. López, N. Pietro, S. Gutiérrez, A. Masís, G. Caruso, S. Puppini, D. Linares, D. Solis, F. Hernández, A. Ríos, P. Mora, I. Sanczewski, M. López, P. Franceschi, A. García, C. Arroyo, X. Aragonés.





2020. Costa Rica


Published in July, 2020

Volume 3, Issue 4



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