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Iren Moroz
"In The Grip Of Quarantine"

Iren Moroz© Iren Moroz

Curator: Sinyagur (Ukraine)

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Iren Moroz is a Ukrainian documentary photographer. She is the winner of "Photographer of the Year 2012". Her photobook Tetanus shot has been awarded by the Diploma of the 2nd degree at the international competition “Ukrainian photobook - 2016”

The project of Iren Moroz neither laments on hard life in the ordinary Ukrainian village nor moans on extreme times of the pandemic. It just focuses on the living conditions of one typical family sharpened by the quarantine. As in plenty of her projects, Iren reports the reality, documenting its pleasant and ugly sides as they are, with a human being as a key character of this visual narrative. It is left for us to reflect upon that, to imagine how it feels to stay isolated in a tiny house in a small closed society of a village. I personally hope this will lead us all to some positive changes both in our private lives and globally. However, the devil is in details, and those of our home routine is the most tangible.

The Project

On March 3, 2020, the first officially recorded case of coronavirus was registered in Ukraine. Statistics of patients with coronavirus did not require the establishment of quarantine standards, but to follow the recommendations from WHO, the authorities announced quarantine on March 12.

I started to work on the project on April 15 in Kornyn village, at that time no patients with Covid-19 were detected there, a total of 17,330 people were diagnosed in Ukraine, 4,473 of them recovered and 476 died.

Once I arrived at the village with a project idea in my mind, people came into contact with caution; however, meetings with the heroes were scheduled for a whole week. And on April 17, there were rumors in Kornyn that a coronavirus patient had been found in a nearby village and all contacts had been severed, so my project was in danger of failing. Not ready to give up the whole idea, I focused on the family that sheltered me during the filming.

The family that eventually became my hero is a vivid example of Kornyn’s dwellers, whom I have been shooting for more than ten years. These people now live in a one-room house, where half of the space is occupied by an old non-functioning stove. The attempts to increase the space of the house by removing the stove are quite risky because the ceiling would collapse. Thus, during the quarantine, the whole family remained concentrated in one small space. The main problem for them was the lack of a separate personal place for solitude, at least for a short time, for each family member. So they went for a walk in the woods from time to time. Sometimes Mom went cycling outside the village. Dad also rode a motorcycle to relax from the family.

Mom Ivanka (born in 1983) - is a housewife. In 2019, for the first time in 8 years, she worked for 5 months on a seasonal job at a corn seed plant. Dad Pavlo (born in 1982) - is a car mechanic, he worked at a car dealership in Kyiv for 5 years, and now works at home. Before the quarantine, Pavlo additionally worked at the car service station; occasionally as a volunteer, he repaired cars, which then took part in the anti-terrorist operation at Eastern Ukraine. Currently, due to quarantine, he is left without a permanent income, his own business does not bring enough orders.

Kids are the son Maxim (born in 2011) who graduated from the 2nd grade of primary school and the daughter Amina (born in 2015) who goes to kindergarten. During quarantine, children did not go outside the household’s territory at all, Maxim studied at home remotely. Unfortunately, the lack of collective concentration and the lack of a separate educational place distracted the kid from learning, which significantly affected the knowledge and assessments. Thanks to his Mom's efforts and patience, the boy has not stopped studying, although he constantly says that cartoons are much more interesting than lessons.

While shooting the quarantine routine of this family, I realized how lucky I am, having enough personal space for myself. I immersed in their lives and I am very grateful to them for trusting me to show it.

Quarantine measures introduced in Ukraine due to coronavirus COVID-19 were extended until August 31, 2020. The adaptive quarantine was applied, e.g. restrictive measures were gradually eased depending on the epidemic situation in each region. So far the situation to be continued for this family and other Ukrainians.

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Iren Moroz© Iren Moroz


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