New photography exhibition captures pandemic life and cityscape

What was after an empty gallery area for the past year now homes the photography exhibition “Strange Times: Downtown New Haven in the COVID Era” by Roderick Topping.

Brian Zhang

1:40 am, Oct 14, 2021

Contributing Reporter

Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday, the New Haven Museum on 114 Whitney Ave. opened a new exhibit that displays snippets of the pandemic’s effects on the Elm Town in 36 images.

The exhibit, titled “Strange Moments: Downtown New Haven in the COVID Era,” has images of cityscapes, folks and neighborhood buildings by New Haven-primarily based artist Roderick Topping. His project capitalized on the earlier months of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Haven, with the exhibit exhibiting will work relationship from early March 2020 to September of this year. The show opened at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and will be accessible to the public through March 25, 2022 on the museum’s topmost floor. 

“Everyone’s tales make a difference. Particularly in a local community of this dimension, your own story is history, and there’s no compact tale,” Museum Photograph Archives Director Jason Bischoff-Wurstle explained. “You glance at what the working day-to-working day is and how that gets to be record.”

According to Topping, the photos were much more so a documentary of the city’s swiftly altering tradition over the pandemic than commentary on unique socio-political themes. He hopes that future New Haveners and museum readers will glimpse at “this report of time and existence” and remind on their own of just how significantly COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of the town. 

The photos aspect community bars, inhabitants, restaurants and road corners as well as Yale College. They capitalize on the emptiness and grim actuality of the metropolis as it struggles to navigate a pandemic environment, a stark contrast from the bustling local community of people and transients that each “the homeless and rich alike” the moment realized, in accordance to Topping. 

Like other site visitors, Bischoff-Wurstle felt a own connection to the is effective. He spoke to the one of a kind sensation he determined upon seeing a photo of common community structures that have now been repurposed for other uses. 

While Topping reported that he experienced at first taken all pics in colour, he desaturated most of them all through the modifying procedure to reach a monochromatic result, which he stated represented “how I think I’ll keep in mind these days: bleak, lonely, and surreal.” 

Cailin Hoang ’25, who attended the exhibition on its opening working day, spelled out that Topping’s colour choice and conclusion to showcase daily destinations “truly stopped time.” Every element is accentuated, and viewers are drawn to each crack of every single developing and each and every component of what is currently being depicted — “whether it is physical or visceral,” Hoang explained. She added that viewers will sense abandoned and lonely seeking at these pictures, which will assistance them much better grasp the fact of what it was like to be dwelling all through a pandemic.

In accordance to Topping, the collection started out as a individual job. The pictures ended up taken in the course of his everyday walks downtown and had been uploaded to his social media accounts, exactly where they later on received constructive comments from Bischoff-Wurstle and other community inhabitants. Though he mentioned that the recent collection signifies a total snapshot of a precise time through the pandemic, he hopes to grow the challenge to mirror the uncertainty of pandemic lifetime. 

“The metropolis, the region is modifying fast … and there isn’t a indicator of items slowing down to a quiet pace,” Bischoff-Wurstle explained. “I say just take a step back and question. What is likely on? What are our inner thoughts on this?”

The “Strange Times” exhibition follows typical admission fees and museum several hours, which can be considered on the New Haven Museum internet site right here.


Brian Zhang is a to start with 12 months in Davenport College or university.

Kenneth Proto

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