Creative Quarantine: Photographer Corrie Witt

Self Portrait, Columbus, Ohio | Digital Photograph | © Corrie Witt

1. How Are You Holding Up?

I’m doing okay. I feel fortunate that my husband and I have been able to continue working during this time. However, I also feel a lot of anxiety about what school will look like in the fall and beyond for myself as a teacher and as a parent.


Evening Dip, Columbus, Ohio 2020 © Corrie Witt

2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

Right away I knew that photography was going to help me get through this. I felt it was important to shoot as much as possible during this unique moment in history and tried to express that to my students during our final in-person moments together. Although I am really not a portrait photographer, I have been thinking about doing self-portraits for a while without being able to bring myself to get started in any focused way. Being isolated at home with my daughter for months stripped away all of the distractions and barriers. As I began to create my first COVID-era self-portraits, I saw my daughter attempting to process all of the changes in her life as well, and asked her if she would be interested in collaborating in this project with me. My hope was that it would give us something productive to do together while also empowering her with a new tool to processes her own ideas and emotions. Early on a colleague said to me, “I hope you are journaling right now.” I am not a writer, these images are my journal, and when this is over my daughter and I will have a document of our struggles and how we got through them together.


Peeling Back Paint, Columbus, Ohio 2020 © Corrie Witt

I am not a writer, these images are my journal, and when this is over my daughter and I will have a document of our struggles and how we got through them together.

City Blues, Columbus, Ohio 2020 © Violet Freeman

3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to 
keep after this is over?

Image-making has always been a solo-act for me. Like meditation, it is a way for me to center myself. Collaborating with Violet through the creation of this visual dialogue has provided me a way to connect with someone through the image-making process. We inspire and energize each other. I would love to plan more collaborative work in the future.


High Dive, Columbus, Ohio 2020 © Violet Freeman

Cooped, Columbus, Ohio 2020 © Corrie Witt

4. Of the artists you follow, who is handling this particularly well?

It is difficult to say who is handling it well. I think everyone who is able to adapt to their new reality keep making work right now should feel good about that.


Gray Skies, Columbus, Ohio 2020 © Violet Freeman

Camping Sunrise, Geneva Hills, Ohio 2020 © Corrie Witt

Statement:

The Mother/Daughter Self-portrait Project began as a way for me to connect with my daughter during the Coronavirus pandemic. In March, we transitioned from lives that were packed with activities from before sunrise to late at night (school, work, homework, athletics) to a new reality where we no longer use planners or even know what day it is and where we are together all the time. I began to make self-portraits as a way to work through frustration, anxiety, fear, and all of the emotions. At the same time, I saw my daughter dealing with her transition from elementary to middle school while being separated from all of her friends and peers. The images we are creating serve as a visual conversation between us and as an expression of how we see ourselves in our time of isolation.


Distracted, Columbus, Ohio 2020 © Corrie Witt

Topiary Dreams, Columbus, Ohio 2020 © Violet Freeman

Corrie Witt is a photographer and educator based in Columbus, OH. She received her BA from Columbia College, MFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago and MA in Educational Studies from The Ohio State University. When she is not teaching or photographing, she enjoys spending time in her garden with her chickens.

Website: www.corriewitt.com

Instagram: @cbuscorrie