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The Shape of Emptiness

In 2020, we experienced shock when the COVID-19 pandemic killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced us into social isolation.  Death lurked silently outside of our doors, and we were mostly alone. I was no exception. Fearful and cut off from others, I faced the reality that I could die. My parents could die. My friends could die. And it could happen now.   

For months, I breathed the reality that the dust devil of matter that has spun up from the Earth to form who we are will return to its place among the dirt and clouds. And that will be it. The impermanence of existence was thick and inescapable in the air.  

Alone with my emotional chaos, I searched for imagery that would teach me and help me understand. I sought solace. I wandered and discovered once busy spaces were infused with a sense of quiet.  

In these spaces, I could see the place for what it was, rather than for the activity it held. The world felt empty. It was so quiet. It was terrifying and gorgeous.


This is not the first time I have photographed parking garages. The transience, efficiency, and sparseness are an odd refuge. When the pandemic arrived, the spaces emerged more completely for what they are and for what I had always appreciated about them.  

As I reflect on the shocks I have experienced, I see that each has allowed a bit more intimacy with the light that infuses the silent places. There is a beauty that arises in the absence of that which is normally present, both in ourselves and in our world.   In emptiness, the ever-present light can finally be noticed. 

Portfolio exhibited in 2020 Contemporary Photography in Hawaii Exhibition.

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