In a quiet pandemic life, I was quietly honoured, bewitched and bewildered to have one of my photographs and an accompanying lyric prose poem appear in the New York City gallery of the International Center of Photography, on their online platform, and now in print. A humble photograph of my wonderful mother-in-law, isolated by dementia and a pandemic in a care home.

Care home birthday: My husband’s mother, in a dementia care home. It was her 89th birthday. This was our family party. Our temperatures were normal. Still, I don’t know what I’m seeing. Unsure what I’m hearing. I baked a sachertorte, one of her favourites. My husband took two slices in to the visiting room. My daughter and I are in the parking lot with our slices. We sit under a tarp on hard chairs placed outside the visiting room window. There’s no opening. Can you communicate through a closed window? We try singing Happy Birthday through our phones. Can anyone hear it? It’s hot. The blue tarp flaps in the breeze. Light, shadow, reflections all blinding. My daughter tries to show photos on her phone by holding it against the glass. The sun dances off a fork. 30 scheduled minutes and it’s over. When you read this, I’ll still be waiting for the heartbreak to pass, trying to find some meaning. If you ask me how my visit was, I’ll tell you it was okay. Because I’m learning how to lie.

“The year 2020 was one of the most tumultuous in recent history: the emergence of a global pandemic; the rise of authoritarian regimes; mass resistance to deep inequalities. But what did it all look like? With the world in lockdown and museums closed, the International Center of Photography in New York City announced an open call through #ICPConcerned as an invitation to its worldwide followers to make and upload images of their lives. The response resulted in over 60,000 pictures from 70 countries, by amateurs, professionals, documentarists, and artists. Every kind of image was made, from frontline journalism, theatrical staging, and still life to landscape, portraits of isolation, and records of protest. An interdepartmental team of curators, educators, and administrations at ICP selected 820 photographs to form an epic exhibition in its new galleries and online. Unfolding month-by-month, it was a living chronicle of profound change. Now a book, #ICPConcerned: Global Images for Global Crisis is an immersive and provocative, day-by-day record in both words and pictures, of what the world experienced.” -International Center of Photography, New York City.