Julia Schlosser, MA, MFA, is a Los Angeles based artist, art historian, and educator. Her artwork elucidates the multilayered relationships formed between people and their pets. Her writing and research interests focus on contemporary photographic artwork that depicts animals’ lives and deaths. She curated the exhibition Remembering Animals: Rituals, Artifacts and Narratives, 2018, and chaired the 2017 inaugural Seeing with Animals Conference. Her photographs are included in Feeling Animal Death: Being Host to Ghosts edited by Brianne Donaldson and Ashley King, Rowman and Littlefield, International, 2019.
She is a lecturer at California State University, Northridge where she teaches photography and the history of photography.
Images from the series Walking in the time of Corona
Since the lockdown began in March, 2020, I have isolated. I’ve driven my car out of my Los Angeles community maybe ten times. I stopped swimming because my pool is closed. I teach from home. And I started walking in endless circles around the short blocks of my immediate neighborhood, the Bull Creek Pocket.
On March 29, I began photographing with my iPhone as I walk. Looking down, I find abundant proof of animal life: the quick and the dead. I encounter evidence of the outside world in the form of my neighbors’ daily newspaper deliveries. But even the information in the newspapers I photograph is attenuated and restricted. I see the side of the paper that is facing up and not blocked by the plastic wrap.
I make maps of my walks using Google Earth. To augment my visual diary, I keep lists of subjects which I don’t usually photograph: people, cats, dogs, birds, and airplanes. Living in the flight path of two airports, I see and hear airplanes constantly.
Sequestered in relative safety, I have ridden out the quarantine. My neighborhood is the container for my anxiety, fear, boredom and loneliness. The quiet events marked on my sidewalks and streets are the sole tangible means I have of experiencing the horrific life and death consequences of the pandemic. Animals are the only beings who seem “safe.” I’m not likely to make them sick and vice versa, and they don’t avoid me as I walk like the people do.
At first I carried a ruler with me because I wanted every piece of evidence to be the same relative size in the photographs: 18” from the camera. Now I just measure on my leg, but like everything in this series, it’s a flawed attempt at control. If I’m rushed or excited, I get closer or farther away. And I always struggle for balance. I struggle to keep the camera level to the ground. I don’t touch or move anything. I move myself and my camera but none of the subjects that I photograph.
I miss touch so much in the time of corona.
Van Nuys, CA
Seen Unseen: magazine preview Julia Schlosser