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  • By Dana Casadei

Adam Green

Adam Green wanted to capture the coronavirus lockdown with a very specific idea – quarantine portraits. Originally inspired by Los Angeles photographer Saam Gabbay’s #touchlessbirthday project, Green decided to do something similar and much closer to his Poppleton Park home in Birmingham. “I decided to just throw up a signup genie through a note on Facebook,” Green said. “There’s a private Facebook page for our neighborhood...I thought I’d see and check the interest.” Within 20 minutes over 30 people had signed up, the majority of which were people he had never met in the neighborhood, where he’s lived for the last six years. He had to cut it off within the first hour. “People had been inside for a good month. They were seeking a connection with someone other than their family,” laughed Green, the director of Green Sky, a production company based in Detroit. “It was a way for them to be a part of something where they could be safe and not have to leave their homes or go outside.” Over the course of a few days in mid-April, Green could be found walking from house to house with his camera, a long lens, and his drone. With no assistants or fancy lighting equipment, each portrait – over 30 in total – was shot using only natural light and lasted about five minutes. “There had been some other front porch series around the country where people were taking pictures and having people come out and sit on their front porch. I thought that was cool but then I thought, well, that’s kind of like any outdoor portrait you get any time...nice but not very interesting,” Green said. “They had no context of the times.” His series definitely has context. His only rule was that people had to stay inside, behind windows or a door. Other than that, they could pose however they pleased. Green gave them mostly non-verbal directions, and took photos from their sidewalk, driveway, or yard. “I’d give them a thumbs-up, snap away for a few minutes, then I’d wave bye, and walk to the next house,” said Green, a professional photographer for 12 years. The portraits vary from large families with lots of kids to people alone in their homes with their animal companions. A few choose to pose stoic, others went a little goofy, and some simply smiled with their families. Green said you can really tell a lot about the many personalities from their poses. Like the people in the portraits the homes were just as unique, giving Green the chance to show off the neighborhood’s diverse architecture. “So you’re seeing these typical portraits but they are within another frame,” Green said. “There’s a level of a distance between us but it still pulls you in because people are framed within their windows or doors and it really makes the context of what’s going on.” After Green posted the portraits on Facebook they were shared across the country. Green said he started getting hundreds of messages on Facebook within that first 24 hours. “People said they were touched,” Green said. “It brought tears to their eyes, it just made them smile, and they didn’t know these people but they felt the connection because they’re going through the same thing.” The subjects felt similarly. “They were just really thankful to be included,” Green said. “It was just a nice connection to have during this quarantine to feel somewhat normal, just making a connection with another person in a safe way...and a way to be part of documenting this historical time in our world." Photo: Laurie Tennent

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