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Inside Looking Out: A Photo Essay From the Lockdown

Documenting the view from our windows. 

By Featured, Multimedia, Photo Essay

May 1 was originally going to be the day when all of this — the stay-at-home order, the chaos at the grocery store, the endless anxiety — would all be over. Now, of course, things are different. Quarantine is going to be a longer, slower process than any of us had hoped it would be. The F Newsmagazine staff has been trying to find ways to keep connected when we have to stay apart. So, on May 1st, we each documented what is, for most of us, the closest thing we can get to the outside world right now: the view from our windows.

  • Leo Smith, Managing Editor: This view, now the only view I have besides my computer, could be worse. The electrical pole is a passable stand-in for a tree, and birds land on it often. I have been tracking the flowering of our neighbors' tree, down below, and on May 1st, the buds started to bloom.
  • Luis López-Levi, Staff Writer: I live about a block away from a large retirement home that I can see from my bedroom. I usually walk by it on my way to the grocery store, but one of the first things I noticed when the quarantine started was that the front doors no longer opened automatically. When I walk next to it, I’ll usually see a few elderly people sitting in the sun room, all of them wearing facemasks. Sometimes they wave at me and I wave back.
  • Leah Gallant, Arts Editor: I took this photo around 1pm, after the Zoom meeting for the printmaking class I'm TA-ing had finished. There was an excellent sky, and, across the street, my neighbor, whom I continue to not know, was doing some work in the yard.
  • Kristin Hofer, Staff Writer: This is where my partner works from home. From this spot she tells me she can see two neighbor boys digging a hole. They are known to ask to pet any dog they see on the street. Many times they have slipped themselves through a busted fence to pet our cats. Once, the back door to our apartment left open, they walked right in.
  • Olivia Canny, News Editor: I think this might be the closest I’ve ever come to living in an apartment that comes with “exposed brick.” I estimate that there’s less than two feet between my bedroom wall and the exterior of this other building. I’d like to blame this view and its lack of sunlight for killing my plants, but I must take some of the responsibility. Before quarantine, I was so busy that I often forgot to water them. Truthfully, I find the scene beyond my bedroom to be more comical than dreary; I’d much rather stare at this rugged brick wall than into my neighbor’s living room.
  • Raven Mo, Staff Designer: I live in the Loop, so there’s really not much to see. But I do enjoy looking at the changing shadows of buildings throughout the day. During the days when I'm not going out for a walk, I often look at the shadows during work break — it’s a habit I formed during quarantine.
  • Darshita Jain, Lit Editor: My landlady is a hoarder. Her now-dead husband built this house we live in and she is so attached to it, she does not let even the broken bits go. Every morning, she waters this forest-like garden in the backyard, and arranges everything she has collected, even though all of it is scrap.
  • Reilly Branson, Comics Editor: It didn’t take long after I moved in for the sounds of the city to blur and blend into a kind of unremarkable white noise. Now that there’s so much vacancy out there, the train, still running, pierces the silence. Its presence in isolation is a reminder that some familiar systems still operate.
  • Georgia Hampton, Entertainment and Photo Editor: The building across from me is sandwiched between a gym and another, far uglier apartment building. But this house-turned-apartment has always felt special, and I’ve delighted in looking at it. The second floor unit is almost perfectly aligned with my bedroom window — at night, if I wake up and struggle to go back to sleep, I’ll look out to see if their kitchen light is still on. It usually is.

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