Erika Explores is the visual diary of Erika Hobart, a Japanese-American photographer and writer based in London. Erika draws from her personal experiences and background in journalism to tell meaningful stories about travel. Her signature style has been described as intimate, cinematic, and nostalgic. While Erika is not able to capture travel stories at the moment, she has given us a glimpse into her mini self-isolation series she created on the Leica Q2 at home.
A lot of people thrive in isolation — or at least, that’s what it seems like on social media. When the U.K. was placed on a police-enforced lockdown last month amid the coronavirus pandemic, I observed seemingly everyone but me creating cosy nests to hunker down in. Candlelit baths. Delicious cooking. Inspiring piles of books to read. Meanwhile, I was flailing. As someone who has combatted depression since my teenage years, spending too much time alone with my thoughts can be an uncomfortable place. And as a travel photographer whose assignments and trips have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, I can no longer easily escape that discomfort.
I know that I am incredibly privileged: I have a roof over my head, food in my fridge, and access to healthcare. But depression is ugly and persuasive. It does not care about what I have. It instead hisses like a snake over the gentle whispers of gratitude. It tells me I live far away from my family and friends. It says I will run out of money. It says I am not creative or strong enough to survive a pandemic. I do what I can to quiet that voice. Some of my coping methods (exercise, therapy) are healthier than others (wine, cake). But I have found that the most empowering way to confront my pain is to create something out of it.
And so, rather than photographing places, I am trying to explore my emotions in the stillness of my apartment. I have started to find magic in the smallest moments. Like the way water shifts and shimmers in the bathtub.
How light seeps through the blinds in the afternoon and transforms everything it touches into silhouettes. The strangely satisfying gleam of oily residue that a slice of cake leaves on paper. The more of these moments I capture and collect, the more hopeful I become. Even in this much smaller world, beauty is abundant.
Discover the Leica Q2.
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This is so on point! Thank you for acknowledging that this is not easy. There are so many articles circulating offering us silver linings or obligatory gratitude. But too often they minimalise the hard truths in the process. Excellent writing.
Thanks Erika. I thought it was only me who felt like this. I have a Q2. Need to walk around with it today.
The vulnerability in this is so powerful. Thank you for sharing ??