Dr. Kenneth Tunnell, retired Eastern Kentucky University foundation professor, recently self-published his own photographic journey titled, Life in the Time of Covid. All photographs in the book were shot between March and December of 2020. The book is composed of numerous black and white photographs ranging from landscapes to extreme close-up shots that convey a sense of what it was like to live through a global pandemic.
“Given the subject matter, there’s something about black and white photos that’s somber,” said Tunnell, “I think that it’s necessary for presenting the mood that we are all experiencing during this time.”
The book is a graphic depiction of the feelings many people faced throughout the pandemic.
Isolation, loneliness, and melancholy are emotions that have resided in a multitude of people at times throughout the year. Tunnell said he has attempted to capture each of these emotions seamlessly throughout the book.
"Life in the Time of Covid is such a powerfully curated selection of photographs. I have reflected on this work a number of times this year. It is full of uncertainty, perspective, and beauty. This book of photos deserves a place on everyone's coffee table," said Eddy Green, an old friend of Tunnell’s and well-known Richmonder.
Tunnell lives on a good amount of land, which he made great use of for many of his shots. An image of stacked firewood represents the wood he burns in his fireplace at home. One silver lining to COVID-19 has been bringing immediate family members closer together. With many businesses shut down or operating under strict restrictions and quarantines, many people finally had time to sit around the house with their loved ones, possibly burning wood in their fireplace.
The author includes several photographs of wood in the book, each conveying a different emotion to the audience. He said he effectively tried to capture the rough edges on cut wood and the smoothness of finished wood, each reflecting light in its own unique way. Tunnell also includes images of exposed tree roots and isolated tree stumps, something he said was often in view and on his mind.
A number of photos appear misty, some were shot directly in fog while others were shot strategically using backlighting, something Tunnell says heavily affects the mood. The book also features a few pictures of John Prine vinyl records. Prine, American country-folk singer-songwriter, was the first well-known celebrity to die of COVID-19 in April of 2020 at the age of 73.
“For the past year, instead of spending time with family and friends, I ended up sheltered in place, not seeing people like I’m accustomed to,” said Tunnell, “So instead of socializing with others, I spent time alone with a camera and tripod and I created images based on my experience dealing with and reflecting on this difficult period we are going through.”
To purchase the book please visit, Life in the Time of Covid: Tunnell, Kenneth D: 9798715820846: Amazon.com: Books.