Arvo. Polina Soyref, portrait photographer

Arvo, 41, engineer

interviewed on 9 May 2020

In March, I had just started working on projects that I wanted to do for a long time. I started taking photos at events, met lots of interesting people, got what I wanted for a long time: new people around me. Photography is a way of meeting people and establishing some contact when there is the right environment and mutual interest. I like it, I was looking for a way to extend my circle of friends, and photography turned out to be the perfect way for it.

A week before the lockdown, I took photos at four events, everything around was bursting with energy and then—pssshh…—and I’m not seeing these people anymore, everyone’s in isolation.

My job is repairing medical equipment in hospitals. Initially, it seemed like everyone was shocked there as if they didn’t understand the scale, and there was no specific plan. For some time, I didn’t have any work to do. Then everyone got used to it; it even seemed that in some cases, medical workers could have more protective equipment.

There were positive moments due to the need to stay at home for some time. Time to think, to clear some things and thoughts: some processes started for which I usually didn’t have the time. I usually think more than do, but even I felt the lack of social interaction. Usually, when something is going on, I need a while to process that experience, but there are few experiences now, very little 'food' emotionally, I miss it.

I realized that I depend on new experiences and feel discomfort from the lack of freedom. Even the idea of getting out of my current circle of friends wasn’t because I’m not happy with it, but I just wanted to feel that I could do it. Any limitations—spatial or social—are unpleasant for me.

It’s very difficult to imagine myself in a future where they say: “And now you have to live like this for the next five years.” I want some unpredictability; I want to not know how an evening will end, to go out and come back on Wednesday. At least I want to have this opportunity. I want to feel free from circumstances, to feel I can change something myself.

“Tell me your story”