Through Windows and Doorways, This Photographer Has Been Capturing Poignant Images of Isolated New Yorkers—See Them Here

Photographer Ventiko finds moments of personal connection in our shared isolation.

Alyssa Tineo, Roni Shalit and Precious, Bushwick, April 2, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.
Alyssa Tineo, Roni Shalit and Precious, Bushwick, April 2, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

The Brooklyn photographer and conceptual artist Ventiko normally conducts her practice entirely in her studio. But as New York City entered lockdown, the sudden onset of self-isolation compelled her to devise a new way to capture images—from six feet away, for a series called “From the Outside Looking In.”

“It was inspired by looking at what had happened around the rest of the world,” Ventiko told Artnet News. “The naivety that it somehow wouldn’t affect us here in the States, and then watching the city and everything that I had known as normal disappear almost over night—it was pretty terrifying.”

On March 21, as the state prepared to enter lockdown, Ventiko took out her bike for the first time in years and set out to visit friends who also lived in Brooklyn, photographing them from behind doors and through windows, or on the street as they peered out from fire escapes. (Rest assured that Ventiko is taking appropriate safety measures at all times: “I’m wearing two masks, I have gloves, I have hand sanitizer—I’m beyond paranoid. As soon as I come in the house, I take off all my clothes and shower,” she says.)

Connell Thompson, Harlem, April 12, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Connell Thompson, Harlem, April 12, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

“Words, images—nothing seems able to relate the emotional experience that we’re all sharing—so I just started documenting,” she said. “I just want to contribute to the history of humankind.”

Ventiko hopes that the photographs illustrate the ways in which we all remain connected despite the physical distance currently keeping us apart.

The project is an emotional one for the artist, who is a New York resident of over 13 years and who lives alone. Each portrait session lasts about 20 minutes—”it’s like this unspoken feeling that we have to stop, that we’re going to get caught”—before she gets back on the road. The longest of these solitary journeys was to Riverdale in the Bronx, which took nearly 12 hours roundtrip.

“The city gave me life and now I’m peddling through the streets and there are trucks of the dead,” Ventiko said, her voice breaking. “This is a place where so many people come to find themselves, and it’s really tragic that it’s a place where so many people are being lost right now.”

The series consists of striking, evocative tableaus, shot through doorways and window frames. And even in these uncertain times, Ventiko found that many of the greatest things about New York remain the same: its resilience, its beauty, its strength.

See more photos from the series below.

Florence Nasar, Rezan Altinkaynak, Harlem, April 12, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Florence Nasar, Rezan Altinkaynak, Harlem, April 12, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Kylie Lefkovitz, Bushwick, April 10, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Kylie Lefkovitz, Bushwick, April 10, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Thee Suburbia, Bushwick, April 8, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Thee Suburbia, Bushwick, April 8, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Akeem Duncan, South Bronx, April 17, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Akeem Duncan, South Bronx, April 17, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Dan Meyer, Greenpoint, April 4, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Dan Meyer, Greenpoint, April 4, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

 Sara Meghdari, Dáreece Walker, Bedford Stuyvesant, March 26, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Sara Meghdari, Dáreece Walker, Bedford Stuyvesant, March 26, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Elsa Zamora ,East Village, April 15, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Elsa Zamora, East Village, April 15, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

M Charlene Stevens, Upper East Side, April 12, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

M. Charlene Stevens, Upper East Side, April 12, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Brianna O’harra, East Village, April 15, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Brianna O’Harra, East Village, April 15, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Udon, Fou Gallery, Bedford Stuyvesant, March 21, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Udon, Fou Gallery, Bedford Stuyvesant, March 21, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Michelle Esteva, Chinatown Soup, Chinatown, March 21, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Michelle Esteva, Chinatown Soup, Chinatown, March 21, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Jeffrey Scott, Larissa McCoy and Grace, Ridgewood, April 7, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Jeffrey Scott, Larissa McCoy and Grace, Ridgewood, April 7, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Katelijne de Backer with son Szymon and cats Johnny and Cleopatra, Brooklyn Heights, March 24, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Katelijne de Backer with son Szymon and cats Johnny and Cleopatra, Brooklyn Heights, March 24, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

May Madarang, Elmhurst, Queens (Two Blocks From Hospital), April 4, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

May Madarang, Elmhurst, Queens (Two Blocks From Hospital), April 4, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Steve Sciacca, Bushwick Bakery, Bushwick, April 10, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Steve Sciacca, Bushwick Bakery, Bushwick, April 10, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Delivering essentials for Covid-19 positive friends, Bushwick, April 10, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Delivering essentials, Bushwick, April 10, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Echo He and Noah Fisk, Preparing donations of PPE for N95 for NYC, Bedford Stuyvesant, April 5, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.

Echo He and Noah Fisk, Preparing donations of PPE for N95 for NYC, Bedford Stuyvesant, April 5, 2020. Photo by Ventiko.


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