Over the past year, COVID-19 variants have taken the lives of so many world-wide; about one out of every 250 people in my neighborhood: Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. In the spring of 2021, as restrictions are gradually lifted, these photographs attempt to grasp those absences; to confront the emptiness that lingers as we learn to live, share, and breathe again.
At mid-summer 2021 the case rate here remains higher than in greater New York City, the test rate is lower, and the vaccinated percentage also lower, but slowly improving. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been declining dramatically through the year but in recent weeks are rising again probably due to the scourge of the Delta variant and the unvaccinated people who are defenseless before it.
I have taken to going out in my neighborhood an hour or so before dawn, drawn to every source of light like a moth, desperate for a sense of life, of community, walking the mostly empty streets, keeping my distance from others, feeling more open to the outdoors, yet still isolated and numb, moving silently through the pre-dawn streets, ghost-like, or perhaps vampire-like, trying to absorb the calamity that is still here, still raging.