Life in a parallel universe – Photo makes NY exhibition

A photograph from Sandy Scheltema’s ‘Life in The Time of Corona Virus’ series is among just 1000 selected from 35,000 images worldwide for an exhibition documenting the pandemic at the International Centre of Photography New York.
ICP ( is the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture.
Established in 1974, the ICP has chronicled wars, social movements and disasters to build a historical archive for future generations.
The Pandemic Project exhibition was inspired by the ICP’s founding principle to champion ‘concerned photography’ – socially and politically minded images that can educate and change the world.
Sandy’s photo features Lauren and her daughter Beatrix being tested in the COVID-19 assessment centre at Kyneton Hospital.
“I felt as though I had been in a war zone because of the troops, yet here we are in the Macedon Ranges,” Lauren said of the experience.
“I sometimes feel as though I’ve woken up in a parallel universe like a sci-fi movie, it really feels like that.”
Lauren’s husband lost his job as a senior energy analyst at Deloitte when 700 people were made redundant in one go earlier in the pandemic.
“It was a terrible shock when he lost his job,” Lauren said.
“It’s the stuff of nightmares, my husband’s lost his job, we’re in the middle of a pandemic with a baby and a child with Type 1 diabetes.
“When you go to the supermarket in your mask it’s like everyone is a zombie because you can’t see their expressions. You do the COVID-19 dance of 1.5 metres from each other.
“My three-year-old doesn’t understand why she can’t go to playgrounds and playdates. I’ve told her there’s a naughty virus that’s making people sick, so we must stay home. We’re waiting for the naughty virus to go away.
“I don’t want her to be terrified, but I want her to be wary. My baby can only have her check ups by the maternal nurse done by telehealth. It’s a bit worrying.”
Lauren said it might be easy to get stuck in a spiral of darkness but it was so important to stay positive.
“There are some things we can control and some things we can’t,” she said.
“We can control how we are in the house and how we treat each other.
“It’s important to teach my children resilience. Sometimes awful things happen in this world, but we can get through these things, there are positives like my husband being home with the baby. You can’t just sit in a corner and cry.
“I really hope people do the right thing and stay home, so we don’t have to live like this anymore.”
Interested in being part of this project to document Life in the Time of Corona Virus, or know someone who might be? Social distancing is adhered to and photos taken outside. Contact photographer Sandy Scheltema at: or 0408 722 997.
Funding for this project was provided by Creative Victoria and Regional Arts Victoria as part of the Sustaining Creative Workers Initiative.

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