This digital photograph depicts 79-year-old Preston resident Lorraine Evans standing in front of her home during the State of Victoria's first COVID-19 lockdowns and associated 'stay at home' restrictions. She is pictured with her two pet dogs, Puppy and Kellie.
Lorraine was living alone when the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, and she found the experience of lockdown very isolating. 'I'm nearly 80 and I still drive', wrote Lorraine in August 2020, 'but the lockdown means that I'm mostly just sitting inside watching TV. I have two TVs and I record shows so I can fast forward through the ads. I have enough to watch, but it's just really, really boring. I've found being alone all the time really hard.'
Lorraine had been living in her home for over 35 years when this photograph was taken, and had raised her two daughters there. 'I'm missing my family and my friends', she wrote in August 2020, 'usually I go up to Ballarat to see my two daughters and my grandkids every month, but I'm not doing that now. My only contact with them is over the phone. My granddaughter in Sale calls me via Skype, so I get to see her face, which is good. My other daughter lives just outside Melbourne and she drops in if she's making deliveries in our area, but it's been five weeks since I saw her.'
Despite being physically isolated, Lorraine was pleased when her local street set up a WhatsApp group, which allowed her to connect with her neighbours over instant messaging. She was also grateful for the assistance of a neighbour who offered to do her grocery shopping.
When Lorraine was contacted by local photographer Julie Ewing to have her portrait taken during lockdown, she was happy to be involved. 'I was really excited to have my photo taken', Lorraine reflected, 'the last time that happened was when I got married!'
This photograph was taken by Melbourne-based photographer Julie Ewing as part of her 'Across the Fence' photographic series. This series documents life in Melbourne's Darebin region during the first COVID-19 lockdowns that began in Victoria on 14 March 2020. Julie photographed 120 households and 60 businesses during March to May 2020, and this digital photograph is one of 24 images that were acquired into Museum Victoria's Collecting the Curve Collection. These photographs provide a lasting reminder of how neighbourhoods and households in Melbourne were impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, as well as the unique ways through which individuals and communities adapted their lives and found new routines, traditions and ways of supporting one another.
Digital TIFF file
Donation from Julie Ewing
Collected as part of the Museum In My Neighbourhood project with support from the Office of Suburban Development.
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