‘My New Normal,’ an emotional and psychological journey through the covid-19 pandemic in New York City

I’m not even sure anymore how long we’ve been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Days are bleeding into days. What we know (or really, don’t) about the new virus is constantly changing. At first, what seems like eons ago, it was thought that maybe once summer hit, cases would slow down. Well, you see where we are now.

Here in the United States, multiple states are seeing increased cases. Mobile phone videos keep surfacing showing people fighting about wearing masks. Campaign workers tested positive after a presidential rally in Tulsa. The president held a Fourth of July celebration Friday at Mount Rushmore, where people neither had to wear masks nor practice social distancing. It’s clear none of this is going away soon. So how do we deal with it?

Of course, we all have different ways of trying to cope with the effects of the virus. Many photographers, whose work usually focuses on looking at how other people are dealing with their places in the world, are turning their lenses on themselves. New York City-based photographer K. Flo Razowsky is one of them.

Razowsky’s introspective, black-and-white photos are poetic vignettes exploring a psychological response to the anxieties and frustrations the virus has brought with it. Razowsky told In Sight that their project, “My New Normal,” “reflects the shifting dynamics through which we are living and aims to capture the internal tensions that I, and likely many of us, are experiencing.”

Back in March, New York City was one of the main hot spots for covid-19 in the United States. Thousands and thousands of cases were presenting themselves, leading to a multitude of deaths. I heard from some of my friends in Brooklyn that the wailing of ambulance sirens was a constant, haunting soundtrack to the terror gripping the city. Things came to a standstill as people were asked to stay inside, practice social distancing and wear masks in an attempt to flatten the curve.

Razowsky was one of the many people endeavoring to get through all of it. Now that the virus has spread far and wide across the United States, many of us, unfortunately, can relate, in some ways, to the struggle New Yorkers faced.

Razowsky told In Sight a little more about their experience and what led them to embark on the project:

“In mid-March 2020, we suddenly found ourselves living in a world that leaves former activities we thought little about, such as visiting friends, walking outside or grocery shopping, fraught with invisible danger. Living alone when the pandemic hit, my life abruptly became one of extreme solitude, both inside my home and out in the world. And, as we have long passed 90 days since the start of the pandemic in New York City, with Phase 2 of reopening happening locally as case numbers spike nationally, we are seemingly only at the beginning of this new global experience.

“Generally, I point my camera outward to hold a mirror up to the world. But as our global identity shifts, I’ve placed myself inside my work like never before. We’ve all been pushed into this unexpected together and, I think, are looking for ways to feel less alone with our inner turmoil. I began ​’My New Normal’ to help myself process this unexpected situation, and hope that by visualizing this uncertainty, I can help offer an expression for our startling new common experience.”

You can see more of Razowsky’s work on their website, here.

In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff members and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.

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