Local photographers are among thousands who have responded to a call from the Ballarat International Foto Biennale to document social isolation as part of a large-scale project.
Just weeks in to the project about 3000 photographs have been submitted showing snapshots of social isolation across Australia, and BIFB has partnered with the FORMAT International Photography Festival in the UK, the the Gallery of Photography Ireland to create an international time capsule of the COVID-19 crisis on Instagram.
BIFB director Fiona Sweet was inspired to create the project after spending two weeks self isolating following a trip to the US last month.
"The major reason why I did it is I came home from Houston in to two weeks of quarantine, which was pretty weird. When I finally left the house it was like four weeks since I'd been in my community and everything was completely different, the streets were dead, there were no cars, and I thought it had to be documented and we don't know how long it will continue.
"2020 is becoming a hugely significant moment in time and Mass Isolation is an opportunity to find lightness, to share experiences and build our faith in humanity's ability to survive," she said.
Pictures are uploaded to #massisolationaus from which BIFB curators Shaohui Kwok and Amelia Saward then select images for a curated collection on Instagram called massisolationaustralia.
But every picture uploaded will stay to become an entry in the time capsule that will forever document how lives changed during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Mass Isolation has become our project for this year because all our other projects were cancelled because of what's going on in the real world," Ms Sweet said.
"It is essential we document this as it has never happened before and is such a change to the way we live that I want every human being in Australia to take a photo of their experience."
Ms Sweet said unlike many photographic exhibitions in which viewers could perhaps relate to a photographer's story or the background behind the pictures, this would truly be the first exhibition that every person could relate to.
"Often I'm choosing, selecting and curating artists and bodies of work to show people who don't have much of connection. I might relate to the story but it's not necessarily my story, but this is the first piece where it is all of our stories."
Several Ballarat photographers have submitted works to the exhibition but Ms Sweet is keen for more Ballarat representation among the stunning photographs already submitted.
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