In the past three months, photographer AJ Tamari has witnessed pasta-making sessions and morning coffee rituals, met a former client’s 4-month-old baby, and helped a woman say goodbye to her childhood cabin, all from her Greenpoint, Brooklyn, apartment. Erring on the side of caution, Tamari has postponed her in-person bookings and instead been capturing people’s milestones—big and small—on film via Zoom video calls. “Once I stopped feeling so sad, I thought how nice it would be to connect with others in their spaces,” says Tamari, adding that the drawn-out process of developing the images has provided much-needed momentum in her own life. “The limiting nature of a roll only having 16 photographs is stimulating.”
Tamari’s project has (virtually) taken her as far as Seattle, where one couple has filled their days with exercise and music. Another session led her to an ICU doctor in Minnesota, who has been reckoning with the heartbreak and fatigue of the pandemic. “Everyone’s experience has been so different but also somewhat similar: just manic, emotionally,” says Tamari. Birthdays, weddings, dance classes, cooking lessons—life didn’t pause, rather it took on new meaning at home. Here, seven people reflect on the important moments and celebrations they experienced during quarantine.
The Family That Moved On
Our cabin was built in 1907 and it still has that cottage-vintage charm. It’s where I got married; it’s a little slice of heaven and we are selling it after 33 years of it being in the family. Taking these photos was the perfect way to end this chapter. —Nastassia
The Pair Who Tied the Knot
We decided on a Wednesday that we wanted to get married. The next Saturday, we found ourselves on the North Shore of Lake Superior saying “I do.” Eloping in the way that we did had always been my ideal scenario; to create a day that doesn’t get lost in the planning but focuses on the commitment we have made. Two of our best friends attended and got ordained over the Internet. Family members recorded poetry readings for us. We cried, we laughed, we danced, we hiked, we ate on the cliffside on a sunny, 70-degree day. The only stressful part was popping the champagne bottles. —Katie
The Busy Homebodies
We have celebrated our six-month wedding anniversary and my wife’s birthday, painted a peach harlequin pattern over our linoleum kitchen floor, made homemade pasta in various shapes and sizes (documented on @cookingwithwino), mixed 1,000-plus martinis, watched ’80s film classics like Moonstruck and Steel Magnolias, worked from home full-time, raided Chairish for lemon-themed vintage Italian ceramics, had theme date nights like “Under the Sea,” half-finished the New York Times Magazine crossword every Saturday, and gotten to know each other very, very well.
The Couple Adjusting to a New Work-Life Pace
The past three months feel like they’ve been years as well as minutes. I turned 31 at the beginning of March, had a normal birthday, and then life hasn’t looked the same. My husband started as an EMT in April and has been completely thrust into working through a global pandemic. I’m a wedding photographer who has had to navigate canceled events in a career where being in person is vital. Instead of nights out with friends, we’ve pivoted to reading books, diving headfirst into yard work, and having deep conversations about social injustice. Normal is no longer something we are striving for. Nothing is the same, and sometimes I think that’s okay. —Abbey
The Growing Family
In some ways, our quarantine has made it feel like time is standing still. But our son is constantly changing. Every day he does something new. Since March, he’s learned to hold objects, roll over, and sit up—and he’s even started crawling. —Suraj
The Prolonged Honeymooners
We made a last-minute decision to elope in mid-March because we were unsure how much longer City Hall would be open once businesses started to close. Since then, our relationship with food has been a really lovely journey. While we’ve been stuck inside, we’ve prepared nearly all our meals ourselves (a big shift). My husband is developing some rudimentary culinary skills, and I’ve discovered how much I love to bake. Even the simple ritual of hand-grinding coffee helps remind us to be intentional. We feel so fortunate to have had this time to start our marriage, but we also acknowledge that the backdrop for our joy is a worldwide crisis that continues to cause pain for so many. —Kineta
The Frontline Worker
Paul is a post-doc at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and I am a resident physician at the University of Minnesota. In mid-March, his lab transitioned to working remotely, which allowed him to move here. At the time, I was working 60- to 80-hour weeks in the ICU caring for patients who were critically ill with COVID-19. It was emotionally draining. However, at the end of the day, I got to come home to my best friend. He made me laugh when I felt like crying. He listened. He made me delicious food. He turned on The Office. He got me to bed. Our evening routines built me back up, again and again, to face another day. —Susan
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