A photographic series born out of COVID-19 and grown during the ongoing isolation of 2020, Sydney based photographer and actor, Jasmin Simmons presents While There’s Space Between Us at the Gaffa Gallery from 1 – 12 October 2020.
While There’s Space Between Us is an exhibition that showcases portraits and interviews of 100 individuals working in creative industries. These portraits act as a microcosmic illustration of the profound effect COVID-19 has had on Sydney, and aims to put a face, and give voice, to some of the many individuals that make up the Arts industry.
In March, when restrictions first started to come into place, creative jobs were one of the first to be forced to stop. The cessation of the creative arts left countless actors, directors, photographers, prop makers, designers, dancers, opera singers, stage managers and more without jobs or income for an indefinite period of time.
“Working in and being surrounded by people in the creative industry,” says Simmons. “I experienced first-hand what this abrupt ambiguity had on our emotional and cognitive health. Dealing with isolation, the loss of purpose and the uncertainty of the future is terrifying.”
This feeling, and the hope that it was a once in a lifetime experience, propelled Simmons into action. She picked up her camera and began to document it.
“For nine days I drove to the homes of 100 individuals where they were self-isolating. I took polaroids, film portraits, and interviewed each contributor – all whilst maintaining a 2-metre distance at all times,” said Simmons. “After these nine days the situation worsened and I too began to self-isolate.”
During this time Simmons started to go through the 100 moments she’d collected: editing film, scanning polaroids, and transcribing each interview. “At my most alone it was these 100 people that provided me company – some solace; a sense of belonging and a safe place,” she said.
When she began to share the project publicly on Instagram, an artist a day, the response was overwhelming: “people were reaching out to tell me how the series was helping them feel less alone during isolation; that it made them feel connected to something and someone,” Simmons continued. “The project has grown to become extremely special to me and has had an impact larger than I ever anticipated.”
Simmons’ work is primarily focused on people; portraits that challenge the traditional nature of the genre – ‘portraits that aren’t portraits’. Her form of natural, raw, and vulnerable portraiture enables moments to be captured in an intimate and truthful way.
“I hope that these moments provide you with a sense of company, and that through my lens you come to find peace in the realisation that while there is space between us now, it is just an intermission,” she said.
Jasmin Simmons is a Sydney based photographer and actor. Her interest in photography began at an early age when she was given an old film camera from her Father.
She became particularly interested in photographing people whilst undertaking her tertiary education at NIDA, as she began to capture moments backstage of her peers as they prepared for theatre shows, and in the years following, where she took promotional photos for theatrical productions.
The use of film and natural light in her work further aids this sense of authenticity, fluidity and the feeling of suspending fleeting moments in time.
While There’s Space Between Us
Gaffa Gallery, 281 Clarence Street, Sydney
Exhibition: 1 – 12 October 2020
For more information, visit: www.gaffa.com.au for details.
Image: Jasmin Simmons, While There’s Space Between Us, 2020