Photographers Turn Their Homes Into Cameras to Capture Pandemic Life

Billions of people around the world have had their lives turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Brazilian photographer Bruno Alencastro recently came up with an interesting concept for capturing what life is like during these difficult times. He and other photographers turned their homes into camera obscuras and created portraits in their isolated upside-down worlds.

Bruno Alencastro (left) and Greyce Vargas pose for a portrait at their home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“The history of photography is directly related to the point of view of a window,” the Rio de Janeiro-based Alencastro says. “It was from there that, in 1826, Niepce took the first photograph in history. 8 hours of exposure, there, from the point of view of the window of his house in the countryside of France!

“Nowadays, the window starts to represent the border and the abyss between the outside and the inside world. Freedom and confinement.”

Felipe Martini (right, 32) and Rafaela di Giorgio (31) pose for a portrait at their home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The couple had to cancel their wedding and a move to Spain due to COVID19 pandemic.

After turning his own home into a camera obscura by completely blocking off all light except for a single small pinhole, Alencastro reached out to other photographers and invited them to join his project. Through video calls and instant messages, Alencastro shared his thoughts and tips on both technical details as well as the message for each photo.

Clarissa Pont (right) poses for a portrait with her kids, Sebastiao and Mathias inside their house in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The picture was taken by Clarissa’s husband Eduardo Seidl, who is a photographer and a university teacher.
Mathias Rocha (8) and Lucia Rocha (right, 6) pose for a portrait at their home in Tres Coroas, Brazil. The portrait was taken by their father Pedro Rocha and was done in a tent on the high grass next to their house. Having kids at home during lockdown can be very difficult for parents, luckily, Pedro and his children leave next to the wilderness and they can explore nature with little human contact.
Leonardo Savaris (left) poses for a portrait with his wife Michele and son Liam at their house in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil. The image reflects their current daily routine, which consists of keeping their son distracted and entertained while living in an apartment building.
Caroline Muller (24) poses for a portrait at her house in Sao Leopoldo, Brazil. Caroline is a photographer and dancer and it is home quarantined with her boyfriend that is a medicine student and works on the frontline of the COVID19 treatment in his city.

“Symbolically, what we see projected is a world upside down, just like the chaos that we follow around the world”, the photographer says.

Beatriz Grieco (21), a cinema student, poses for a portrait at her home in Niteroi, Brazil. Beatriz is isolated in her house with her family, she is afraid of leaving the house, especially to no put at risk her relatives. Her quarantine routine is to study, watch TV, and to video chat with her work and friends.
Sofia Wolffenbutel (13) poses for a portrait at her house in Florianopolis, Brazil. The image was taken by Sofia’s father, Ricardo Wolffenbutel that is a freelance photogapher and had his work affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eveline Medeiros (25) poses for a portrait at her house in Cachoeirinha, Brazil. Eveline is a photographer and a holistic therapist, she lives with her elderly parents. Eveline and her parents belong to the high-risk group if they contract COVID-19 disease, that is why she has been on lockdown inside her house and avoiding any other contact with others.
Ursula Jahn (26) poses for a portrait in her home in Montenegro, Brazil. Ursula is a visual artist and had all of her job appointments canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guilherme Santos (center), his wife Gabriela Thomaz (right) and their son Joaquin pose for a portrait at their home in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Guilherme is a freelance photographer and Gabriela a Yoga teacher. They all wait for the lockdown measures to end, so they can return to their normal routines.
Josue Braun (36) poses for a portrait at his home in Feliz, Brazil. Josue is a freelance photographer and musician, with the COVID-19 crisis he lost all his source of income.

You can find more of Alencastro’s on his Instagram.