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Photo : Video : Storytelling

A blog by Paul Bettings

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Maybe It Was Happening Before This

Matt's COVID Story

What has changed during the pandemic? A lot, I’m sure, but I feel more has happened than just the pandemic in the last 18 months – political, financial and social justice issues – so I don’t think we can ascribe everything to the pandemic. Maybe we were more keenly aware of those things because of Covid. I can’t say. But, I would say that my willingness to be flexible has changed. I am firmer in my opinions. More defensive of my way and my family – and I see that in others too. Maybe it was happening before this. Who can remember?

This time has helped me understand that I value certain relationships highly and that I’m content to let others be tertiary. And while I miss certain forms of interaction and activity, I am content to survive a largely isolated lifestyle as long as I have my family and closest friends. I think I’ve learned that people experience more stress and anxiety out there than I ever realized. It seems that so many people were affected – even the ones I perceived to be incredibly durable – by the constant weight, severity and seeming endlessness of this situation.

We moved into a new home in May 2019. Were it not for the pandemic I think my kids would have deeper relationships in this neighbourhood. Schools closing, and opening, and closing, did not help them meet new friends. Plus, they haven’t seen their cousins nor have I seen my brother in the last two years. That’s been a real disappointment for us as a family.

If I could go back to this time, I’m not sure how much I would’ve changed. As a business, we hired our first employee and rented an office three weeks before the first shutdown. Still, despite many challenges, we survived as a business. I’d probably tell February 2020 Me to invest in toilet paper companies. I’d tell myself to stay fit through it. I thought my body would recover from a few injuries but, instead, I didn’t play sports for a year and a half and now I’m weaker and have more aches and pains than when this thing started.



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 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. They help us remember the challenges we face as a collective.


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