Transformation, or quarantine-inspired change

Author: Sharaf Nagiyeva

Edition: Isolation

While observing Ayla’s ceiling as I waited for her to return to our FaceTime call, I came to the conclusion that humanity is living in a period of self re-creation.

Many of us had lived on autopilot for many years, doing things we did not want to do, behaving in ways we did not want to behave, destroying things we did not want to be destroyed. Now the planet is regenerating and humanity is being recreated. This "pause" is a natural solution, the only way to make people rethink and analyse their lives and priorities. It seems to me that the most positive thing about quarantine is that the Earth has been given time to overcome the pollution and destruction we, humanity, have caused.

As a photographer I am stuck at home and can not shoot. This project was made via web camera and it has been my only escape from this situation. As a human being I am enjoying this period. Nothing has changed for me, I have my rooftop breakfasts and interesting talks with  my loved ones. These long FaceTime photoshoot-chats show that people around me are experiencing the same thing. They are enjoying the long day-off that they had wanted for so long.

I started this project with the idea to talk about the difficulties of being stuck at home, something like "Life on Pause." But over the course of the webcam chats, the project transformed into something completely different. Life has not been paused; it is in the process of changing.

Nazifa Abdullayeva, sales representative, Montreal: "Honestly I find everything in quarantine positive, everything except that people are sick; I sincerely wish they recover. Other than that, I find this quarantine to be a true salvation for humankind. People get a chance to do everything they have never had time for before. I enjoy the fact that everyday I wake up to the early morning sunshine, do yoga, meditate, read a book, draw with watercolors, watch the movies I’ve had in my watchlist for years, enjoy the company of my loved ones, write down my thoughts in my journal, and walk for a few hours! Doing the things I love and enjoy in life truly satisfies my soul. As soon as it’s over, I’ll go to the cinema (I miss that the most) and will watch six movies in a row!"

Sabina Mingthein, digital marketing manager, Baku: "It is a good time for me to go deep inside and reevaluate my life. I’m waiting for the end of the quarantine to hug my friends and to fly to see my family which is abroad. Enjoy little moments of happiness, such as breakfast on the terrace or walking along the seaside boulevard."
Inayat and Rugiyya Tahirova, Baku: "Honestly, I can’t stop rejoicing in the pleasant consequences of the quarantine for Baku. In markets and hospitals everyone is very attentive to personal space (doesn’t matter if they are just afraid of getting sick), 90 percent of office workers realized that there was no need to go to the office every day and attend meaningless meetings. And I’m very glad to see my 70-year-old parents who, thanks to the quarantine, have learned how to make video calls. Now my parents decided to celebrate birthdays by conference video calls with friends in another country whom they have not seen for a long time. Let's keep in mind that this is all temporary. But can you imagine how everything will change if we continue the most useful lessons learned from quarantine?After it's over, I will take my father for a walk. I'm the type of person who liked to sit at home with family before the quarantine, so maybe I will go to the sea or out in nature to meditate when it is all over. "
Rajab Aliyev, architect, Baku: "I've got plenty of free time. I can plan my day according to my mood and feel less pressure from office life. I miss crawling through the places I know in the city and unexpected meetings with friends here and there."
Nigar Gasimova, events manager, Baku: "This is a time to reflect, focus, reevaluate many things in life. I will go for a long walk with friends and start making travel plans."
Mehrin Alili, operation specialist, Baku: "I think the positive side of quarantine is that now we have plenty of free time. And it’s important to use this time as you want, without putting pressure on yourself. The first thing I would like to do after it's all over is meet with friends, have a beach picnic or take a small trip to explore my country."
Maiko Marekhishvili, hospitality agent, Tbilisi: "I have so much time for myself and self development, to learn new things that I just didn't have time for before. As soon as it's over, I want to get drunk in a bar with my friends!"
Famil Aghakishiyev, filmmaker currently working as a recruiter in Berlin: "The way the German government is handling the crisis has positively shocked everyone. Merkel is the queen again. The way all the online schools, book shops and so on make their stuff free: I mean they could be making huge revenues now that all these people are sitting at home. The other positive thing for me personally is to find out I CAN stay at home long without going crazy. The first thing I would like to do after it's over is to go to some stupid Berlin bar. To the Philarmony. To plan a date. And see a Bjork concert!"
Ayla Mustafayeva, marketing manager, event organizer and founder of Handicraft, Baku: "All of the day-to-day hassle has been paused, which has given me the opportunity to find time for myself and self-reflection. Life’s priorities have been sorted out in a very natural manner, and there is greater awareness about what is important and what--not so much. The quarantine has restored my love for myself and is giving me the chance to get to know myself in a new way. I don’t think I will do something special once it is over. I’ll stay in the same mode for a while and then will gradually change things, one step at a time."
Asmar Alakbarli, student at the Azerbaijan National Music Academy, Baku: "In this period, what I like the most is that I have so much free time to watch movies, play with my cat Marcus, enjoy music, cook, and mentally relax from my routine. I will go somewhere and drink a Long Island cocktail once it's over."

Sheyda Allahverdiyeva, a specialist on cultural tourism at the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, Baku: "Slow living, which I have always considered the ultimate luxury and have always yearned for-- now I have it. The first things I want to do after the quarantine is go to the cinema and get a haircut."
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