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Photo : Video : Storytelling

A blog by Paul Bettings

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I Didn't Want To Deal With Any Of This

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Liza's COVID Story:

My baby was finally asleep, but my 5 year old was wide awake and ready to play. This had been the norm for the last few months.

The ‘government lockdown’ had taken a toll on my 5 year old the most. A social butterfly finding joy in time spent with friends, he questioned everything and understood little about Covid — just like me.

I worried about his health… emotionally… and psychologically. I didn’t want him to wear a mask, but I didn’t want him to get sick either. Truth be told, I didn’t want to deal with any of this.

Mixed emotions flooded my mind. We were cocooned in a beautiful home, with online shopping, endless baking recipes to complete and Netflix, but my mind drifted to all the families we regularly saw in Kenya... back home… struggling to make ends meet. How were they managing?

I tried to reconcile how my privilege overtook my gratitude. Physical distance was a privilege here in Canada, and I wasn’t concerned about being able to feed my family or losing my job. My baby was safely tucked in his crib, my 5 year old had us to level him, and my teenage daughter found a job at Dairy Queen.

How could I reconcile our COVID life with those of my Kenyan friends when our lived realities were so different?


Since March 2020, I have been photographing people through their window to illustrate how we have been spending our lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. The result is a photo series called DISTANCING, which is a view into the life of our friends, neighbours, relatives, acquaintances and strangers while they adapt to life during this pandemic. These portraits of people and families are photographed from outside looking in and show a cross section of Canadians that live in urban, rural or suburban areas and represent many walks of life, from CEOs to artists, as they sit in their homes and deal with the situation at hand.

These photos show life; they show us working collectively to solve a problem. They show happiness, confusion, togetherness, solitude, loneliness and the resilience of our communities, our cities, and our nation. They help us remember the challenges we face as a collective.


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