Whenever I am feeling uncertain or anxious, I tend to seek some source of comfort and familiarity. This is something most of us have in common. Comfort and assurance have been even more important to many of us over the past year and a half, living under the stresses brought on by the coronavirus.

We find comfort in many ways, from eating our favorite foods to talking with friends. I know I’ve found refuge in reading books and watching movies — things I can do at home without slapping on a mask and heading out the door. I just spent the past two days on my couch binge-watching HBO’s “Succession” and trying to decide if it’s a comedy or a drama. Lots to unpack in that one.

So it wasn’t a huge surprise when I got an email introducing me to the latest project from photographer Julia Chang-Lomonico. It’s all about this dance we’ve been doing during the pandemic — looking for comfort.

Chang-Lomonico’s project, “The Couch,” is a series of photographs of her family, exploring how the living room couch became a place where their lives played out in a variety of ways during days of lockdown.

The Chang-Lomonicos’ couch has served many purposes over the months — from a place where her children play, making forts and bouncing up and down, to one where they learn while home-schooling. And, of course, their couch has been where the whole family hangs out, watching television and doing all the things you’d do whether the pandemic existed or not.

Many of the things in which we find solace have taken on deeper meaning during the pandemic. Chang-Lomonico’s project highlights how that has happened with things that are central to our lives. For many, the living room couch is an integral, even indispensable, part of their existence.

I have fond memories of couches — from the beat-up brown-plaid sleeper sofa that used to hold court in my family’s TV room as I was growing up, to the much sleeker (but cheap!) Ikea model where I curl up with my wife and cats in our living room.

I think we can all identify with Chang-Lomonico’s meditation on how this inanimate object can transform into a place of refuge:

“The couch is a place of safety and stability. It is a home base. Its arms are always open, gigantic cushions waiting to envelop you in a full body hug. A hug. Imagine that. This one simple act of affection with so many proven health benefits that has been forbidden during this marathon year of languishing in loneliness has been available to you this whole time in your own living room.”

You can see more of Chang-Lomonico’s work on her 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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