As the new coronavirus has made its way throughout Colorado, many communities are resorting to self-isolation to slow the spread. In her documentation of this phenomenon, photographer Kate Fisher is cutting through the seclusion, connecting the Lafayette community through photos.
“It’s history in the making,” Fisher said. “Pictures are important for not only the present day but for our history. They’re gifts to our future selves and the future generation.”
Fisher began her project by posting on social media and Lafayette Facebook groups, calling for self-isolating households to document. She visits those who respond, standing on the street to keep a safe distance while photographing the participants in their front yards.
“I’m a big believer in pictures telling a story,” Fisher said. “It’s my passion and job to document. (In this pandemic) I can’t not do that.”
A photographer of 16 years, Fisher has been documenting Lafayette long before the pandemic hit. She said she loves going to the Carnegie Library for Local History in Boulder to look at historical photos., and much of her documentary inspiration comes from 19th century Boulder photographer Joseph Sturtevant.
But at her core, Fisher said her passion is people. And these photos work to bring them together.
“It felt like it created a beautiful bridge between people when we’re all supposed to be inside of our homes and away from each other,” said Lafayette resident Sophie Bennett.
Bennett lives in a house with her boyfriend Andrew Somps, sister Eliza and Eliza’s fiance Mike Troxell. All four of them have had their work, school or both moved online, causing the household to completely self-isolate. This has separated them from the community they used to enjoy.
When Eliza Bennett saw Fisher’s call for households to document, she jumped at the opportunity.
“I was just excited that you could bring the community together even from a distance like that,” she said. “It was heartwarming.”
In addition to taking the photos, Fisher also posts them on her Facebook and Instagram accounts for the rest of the community to see. She intends to create a website to host all of the photos in the future.
“As she puts (the photos) up, you see familiar faces from the coffee shop and grocery store and know that they’re out there and they’re okay,” Sophie Bennett said. “You can check in on people from the community when you used to take seeing them for granted.”
While the purpose of the series is documentation, Fisher also wants to use it to foster creativity. In her post looking for participants, Fished invited people to create their own “coronavirus blocker” or “anti-boredom” suits for the photos.
Some households chose normal clothes or pajamas while others sported hazmat suits and princess costumes. Fisher also asks each household to write a caption for their photos, consisting of their story, a quote or anything they want.
Fisher said she left options open to allow households to express themselves and be documented in whatever way they like.
For their household photo, Eliza Bennett dressed as a guitar-playing mountain woman, Troxell donned his aikido uniform, Somps wore a bear hat and Sophie Bennett opted for a silly dress while holding a dog.
“It was playful and I think we need playfulness right now,” Eliza Bennett said. “I don’t get to dress up for anything anymore, not even for work. So it was nice to have something to dress up for and get creative.”
Once the project is complete, Fisher intends to submit it to the Lafayette Miner’s Museum.
However, her artistic endeavors don’t end with the photo series. In the coming months, Fisher plans to create a mural on the wall of the Lafayette restaurant Community. The mural will either be made up of the faces of community members or will be blank, allowing households to visit one-by-one to mark it in any way they want.
All in all, Fisher hopes to use her art to connect the community and make everyone feel included.
A goal that Eliza Bennett said Fisher is achieving.
“Everybody’s still out there even if we might be feeling alone,” Eliza Bennett said.
To get involved with the project, visit Fisher’s Facebook page or contact her at email@example.com.