Social media and the press are replete with a pandemic all over the world. The number of victims and sufferers of this disease is increasing daily and the statistics related to it are the top news. Each of these numbers is representing a person with their thousands of wishes and hopes, but now they passed away by a virus.
In 2020, the world is involved with an unknown virus and the researchers believe that its consequences would be equal to the ones in the Second World War, and even now, its social and economic damages and crises are observed in the whole world.
All over the world, people were imprisoned in their homes. There were no people in the streets, shops, parks, schools, and universities. The photos taken by photographers of different news agencies were more frightening than horror movies of Hollywood.
The cities were quiet and people were stunned by what was happening around them. The doctors and scientists were constantly talking about a new unknown virus. Different statistics and search results were daily updated on the WHO website.
The only result of the photos which were broadcasted on various websites all over the world was only one thing: the fear of global death. Similar photos, from China to Iran and Italy generally showed the concept of death in 2020. I was also afraid of this situation, like any other person, the fear of death.
I am from the Middle East, a region where you are not sure that you will reach home when you pass its allies or not! No matter from which city or country you are.
Any time you can expect a horrible incident.
I traveled to Afghanistan several times to complete my photography project. Afghanistan, a country in the widest continent of the world, has been involved with interior and exterior wars for many years.
I had moved from the Middle East and Afghanistan to North America. I escaped from death many times, from the war between Iran and Iraq to suicide attacks in Afghanistan.
It had been 10 months after coming to Canada and I was passing the difficult days and months of my emigration. I was trying to make my dreams come true in a new land and now the shadow of death was being felt…
Death by a pioneer virus called COVID19- which affects the lungs and can lead to death only in some days.
It was in the middle of March that Health Canada approved COVID19- in BC. At the same time, I was suffering from continuous and dry coughs.
I was obsessed with a terrible feeling of fear! I visited Lions Gate hospital in North Vancouver. A nurse helped me and I went to a department to have medical examinations and tests. There was a red line on the ground as a sign of waning and it separated this part from the other parts of the hospital. Maybe I noticed a strange smell, the putrid smell of death in an unwanted time. I passed the red line and I left all my wishes and attempts of my whole life behind that ref line! I was feeling that death is sitting next to me and looking at me, I wanted to escape from it. I was lonelier than ever! I took my cellphone out of my pocket. I recorded some of those moments with its camera, the seconds that were passing hardly! And these few photos are the outcome of those moments.
Public quarantine was announced by the government of Canada.
Like millions of others, I stayed at home too. Millions of people are looking at the changes in the lives of others with anxiety and worry all over the world. The lives that are moving ahead like the flow of water in a wild river to an unknown destination. A vague tomorrow and a future that looks like a dream. Social media and the internet are the only way that keeps people in touch with each other. This modern world with all of its advanced technologies is disabled by this pandemic and global issue. Some people believe that all the current troubles and problems result from the anger of nature against a human being who is not protecting their environment and hence nature is trying to compensate for their damages and to make a balance in the environmental conditions. I resorted to nature to spend those moments which were like a nightmare on a cold winter night.
In the memorial of the year 2020 and the pandemic that had many victims, I planted 6 trees in the yard of our home and I hope these trees have strong roots in the ground and fruitful branches in the sky. The trees will be a memento of mine to my son and the next generations. The trees can relieve the pains of nature even in a very small amount. A cherry tree in the garden of the front yard, in the middle of grasses, and five trees in the backyard. During the day I was busy planting vegetables, rose flowers, fruits, etc. I pruned the grass and enjoyed all the beauties around me and then I requested peace, comfort, and health from nature for everyone.
These few photos are the gift of my reconciliation with the other side of my nature, a return from the world of technology to nature.
After spending two months in quarantine in Canada and finding myself in a new position that affected the whole world, I found it necessary to record these moments and events for the next generations and the history as a documentary photographer. Hence, I selected the Iranians who were living in Vancouver as my sample to see how their lives have been affected by COVID19-. They accepted me in their personal lives because of having the same language and background. The interwoven culture of Iran and Canada can make a differentiation with similar situations, where culture can play a crucial role in the personal actions, living environment, and the communications of the individuals.
Sarah is an international student in Vancouver in Canada. The graduation ceremony was canceled by the college due to the outbreak of COVID19- and all the classes were held online and the projects must have been done online too. During the quarantine and observance of social distancing, Sarah goes to the area in front of her home and watches cherry blossoms.
During the quarantine and by the outbreak of coronavirus, people try to make the public environment more inspiring and promising to have better feelings and morale. In Ambleside park of West Vancouver, people made a heart and wrote the word “LOVE” on the ground using cherry blossoms.
During the quarantine period, Shahla and Iraj did not go out of the home to avoid being infected with the coronavirus. They even did not leave home to buy bread which is the main need of any Iranian foods. They have learned how to make Iranian bread via YouTube and prepare it twice a week. This is their first experience of baking bread in their lives.
After finding her favorite job, Elham moved from Kelowna to Vancouver. She wished to find many friends and experience different days in this new town but her arrival in Vancouver coincided with quarantine and she had no choice but to stay at home. She even followed her job tasks from home as a teleworker. Elham does not have any friends in Vancouver and she is spending her days alone. She is celebrating her 40th birthday alone and she even cannot make a video call and talk to her family due to the -12hour time difference. She lights her birthday candle and whispers to herself “these days will pass and hope and light will remain in our hearts”.
Parisa is 44 years old and she has M.S. in economics and MBA but she is following her interests i.e. newborn photography and she is working in a home studio. She stopped working during the COVID19-. In this photo, she is cleansing and arranging her home appliances.
Al-Ghadir mosque is the only mosque for the Iranians in Vancouver. Quarantine coincided with the days of Ramadan. Muslims have group gatherings during Ramadan to say prayers and break their fasts. This mosque was closed during Ramadan month.
Due to the closure of the schools, Kami is passing his classes online. He is in the music group of the high school. Now he is recordings a piece of music played by the piano to send to his teacher. He has not cut his hair for a while as the barberries are all closed.
Setareh is cooking an Iranian doughnut which is called Goshe- fil, her mother is helping her too. During quarantine and to pass these boring days, Setareh started cooking new foods and cookies that she had never made them before.
Farimah is a newcomer, she has recently come from Iran with her dog, Guffy, and this is her first rented house in Vancouver. She has not purchased her required home appliances like furniture, dining table, and some others as all the stores are closed due to the outbreak of Coronavirus and she is waiting to personally go to the shops once they are opened.
Mehran Niyayesh (Ph.D. in human sciences) works in Infusion clinic-specific medication. During the pandemic of COVID19-, he must perform his duties of injecting the patients more carefully and not let the environment get polluted by the virus. Most of the people who approach this clinic are Iranians who are living in Canada.