March 31, 2020

The Elbow Move

The Elbow Move

The pictures keep coming as photographers chronicle the coronavirus pandemic from every vantage they can. A lot of the imagery, understandably, documents domestic life at close range: the joys (or the summons) of cooking, e-homework and e-everything, peculiarities through the window.

Beyond the four walls, the focus is largely on civic desolation, the oddity of social distancing, and all the masking and protection. But while the focus is largely on physical space, what we see less of (the elbow bump came-and-went almost before we knew it) are the singular body adjusments. It’s what history might term “the corona pose.”

This scene is from a photo story by Elinor Carucci based on her lockdown with her family in Manhattan. It is filled with eloquent photos of the kind I’ve mentioned. But for posterity, I alighted on this.

When we look back on the crisis, we will have plenty of images in our minds. But what our bodies will remember–as long as, pray to God, we don’t get sick–are the swerves and the swipes, the yanks and the dodges, the twists and the presses to keep things sanitized and going. So as we carry (or, dare I say, shoulder) on, more power to the elbow move.

-Michael Shaw⠀

Photo: Elinor Carucci from “Diary of Life in Isolation,” via The Cut.

Caption: “12:36 At Trader Joe’s, a lot of things were gone and it was a little crazy, as if the end of the world had arrived. In Gristedes and the delis, there’s plenty of food, so we’re not hoarding.”

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Michael Shaw
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