The Longing of Silence
With this series, I am exploring some of the feelings of the pandemic: hemmed in with no end in sight, longing for family, for one-on-one contact with friends, for freedom from fear, and for ways I could comfort so many, including children and teenagers, close to me and afar, struggling and losing so much during those long days. After 11 months of quarantining, I reached out for human connection even if obscured by masks or glass impediments. Like many others I wanted to record this dramatic shutdown, so urgent in its deprivations, isolation and danger. Most of these photos are taken from a distance either through windows or from the end of walkways. All draw upon light, some through complex reflections, to capture the unnatural multiple barriers of living in fear of the disease and, in other instances, highlighting parts of the portraits representing glimmers of hope and gratitude needed to endure. The losses are great and our stories similar, but different. But in every case, these days have marked us for the rest of our lives.
Everyone has a story. Jeanne Widmer has spent her life either creating, sharing or eliciting stories from others, often superficially similar but always unique in degrees of anguish or joy. As a child she produced elaborate comic books and took unusual photos of friends and family. As a professional, she taught literary narratives, captured those of others in a newspaper column, and enabled adults and teenagers to write about moments in their lives often never examined, always fascinated by the power and importance of looking beneath the narrative surface of people or places. In photography this curiosity has brought her to capture the impact of large development both on a small town’s village shopping center and on an area adjacent to a wetland, images of a nearly hundred-year-old movie theater, and unscripted moments of her grandchildren. In this exhibit, she portrays the relentless isolation, intense longing and yet tedium of this pandemic, draining us of the energy generated by human contact. Based in Belmont, Massachusetts, Widmer received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in English and her doctorate in behavioral psychology. She has studied at The Griffin Museum of Photography, the New England School of Photography, Maine Media, and the Los Angeles School of Photography. She has had solo exhibits at Belmont’s Media Center and the Beech Street Center and group exhibits at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Arlington Center for the Arts and a juried exhibit at the Belmont Gallery of Art.