Pandemic Flashes

By Jenn Wood | October 10, 2020

For over thirty years, I’ve been drawn to photography to express my imagination and vision, and to invite people into the world of my visual stories and poems. Since 2009, my photography work has expanded and evolved to become more important in my life and studio practice. The global pandemic of 2020 feels like a giant catapult that’s hurled me, along with millions of other people, into unforeseen and sometimes inconceivable situations. One of the better situations for me has been a more intense focus on, and more time for, photography.

The photographs I’ve selected for Pandemic Lens relate to the last six months of wholly new and uncharted territories. They relate to a modern plague embodied in fear, anxiety, risk, disease, death, isolation, uncertainty, the enduring beauty of nature hijacked by Covid-19, and real or imagined bizarre juxtapositions. Visual juxtapositions have always been significant in my photographs and photo montages. My recent montage series Quilted Universe, about correspondences between nature and humanity, and Industry of Nature, regarding the natural world as it is affected by human and industrial intervention, are two examples.

Of the six images here, five were produced in the last six months. They include compositions from a compressed window of time that seems interminable and heavy, while at the same time fleeting and fragile. The images come from my ongoing series Flashes of Pandemic.

Fractured Self Portrait, solarized pinhole photograph, 2015. Present while navigating a floating world of unrecognizable new rules and dangers that can change at any time — determined to stay grounded.


“Fractured Self Portrait”, solarized pinhole photograph, 2015


Virus Removal, New England, 2020. On a hot, masked day in August this struck me as poignant, simple — wishing it could be so easy. This photograph was selected for a group exhibition at the International Center for Photography in NYC. The exhibition is #ICPConcerned: Global Images for Global Crisis and is currently on view.


“Virus Removal,” New England, 2020


Nature Sanitized 1, 2020. This continues my work on spontaneous compositions to decode current times of pandemic, climate change, injustice, and more. The materials and spirit of these photographs are fleeting and unpredictable, as are the times in which we live.


“Nature Sanitized 1,” 2020


Nature Sanitized 2, 2020. Spontaneous composition echos the unpredictable fluid circumstances and upside down world we are living in. A familiar theme in my work is deep concern for the natural world, which is extremely threatened by manmade chaos and pollution.

“Nature Sanitized 2,” 2020


Covid Wedding, 2020. This piece was produced under restricted circumstances with limited materials and time. The process and imagery are reflective of being and working under stress in the age of Covid-19. The story implied relates to millions of canceled or ruined celebrations of human life, love, achievement, and more.


“Covid Wedding,” 2020

Fragile, 2020.
Illuminating a basic shipping box with a ray of sunshine, this image struck me and lodged in my mind’s eye. It’s come to symbolize more than a box under a sunny window. It is another irony, intimating that for most of us our lives have changed forever. To varying degrees we now rely on shipping companies and essential workers more than ever imagined to provide daily neccessities. To shield us from neighbors and community who have unwittingly become potential threats to our very existence. The incongruous strip of a bright rainbow reflecting on dull cardboard, seen on yet another “stay home” day, nudges me to be hopeful and contemplate better days to come.


“Fragile,” 2020

Copyright © 2020 Jenn Wood
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  1. Jane Sherrill on October 10, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    Wonderful work and text!

    • Jenn Wood on October 13, 2020 at 8:03 pm

      Thank you!!

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