Ronnie Orlando travels to Italy quite a bit, as he still has family over in Europe. These past few months have been trying for the Boston and NYC-based photographer, who was itching to get back to work right away but had to self-isolate after coming back from a recent trip to Italy.
By the time the official ‘quarantine’ period started, I had already self-quarantined for the safety of my own family. But I remember feeling the severity of it at an airport bar, watching the president stopping all European flights. Especially being at the airport during this time, it was heavy. There was panic as well.
We’ve written about photographers heading to the frontlines and photographing the brave souls who battle the virus head-on every day. Ronnie, as you can imagine, wanted to do the same, but had to be responsible because his own mother contracted the coronavirus.
I really wanted to document hospitals and try and take portraits of essential personnel, but during this quarantine period my mother tested positive, so my planning has come to a halt. I had to take into consideration how irresponsible it would be to go out after being directly exposed.
Instead, Ronnie channeled his energies into organizing his photo library. It’s one of those chores that photographers hate to do, but because Ronnie really couldn’t be productive in any other way — at least as it relates to photography — he didn’t have much of a choice.
I have really become much more organized with my photos. It’s really been the silver lining in all of this, and I’m sure every photographer could relate. We all have those drives we need to go through. I also really reevaluated my work during this down time. Going back and looking at past work that I have stored away has been so inspirational.
Still, nothing is going to stop a photographer from doing what they love, so Ronnie went ahead and created some imagery in his home with just an iPhone. The images you’re seeing throughout this piece are from that series, but it won’t be long before Ronnie is back out there getting imagery of the brave people who are risking their lives to save the lives of others.
Since my mother tested positive for COVID-19, I have first-hand experienced the severity of it. It’s been crazy going from trying to protect myself and my family from the virus, to now trying not to spread it. Kind of going from defense to offense. So, these past two weeks it’s really been about trying to stay home even more to prevent the spread.
But I definitely want to get out and shoot more. I think it’s so important to highlight the people on the front lines, from janitors to grocery store workers, to nurses and doctors. Once In feel that it would be responsible for me to do so, I am going to reach out to people and try and dive right in.
See more of Ronnie’s work at ronnieorlando.com.
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