A Photographer’s Diary of Life in Isolation

Photo: Elinor Carucci

Elinor Carucci’s work has always focused on the everyday — the raw, joyful, exposed, and exposing business of humans who love each other sharing a space. And Carucci’s own domesticity has never been so intense nor so constrained. Carucci is sheltering in place in her 950-square-foot Manhattan apartment with her husband, Eran, and their teenage twins, Eden and Emmanuelle. With work, exercise, mealtime, and virtual socializing, the family tries to maintain some semblance of normalcy, but results are mixed. “I feel like I’m getting a little used to it,” says Carucci, who is Israeli. “But at the beginning, I had a lot of flashbacks to the Gulf War.” – Lisa Miller

5:55 (above) I just sleep less these days. Before, I needed my seven hours. Now I go to sleep at ten, eleven, midnight, and wake up at about five.

6:55 I’m looking out the window more — especially if I hear an ambulance or people yelling. A few days ago, there was a helicopter. Photo: Elinor Carucci
7:43 I’m cutting fruit and still looking at my phone. We feel like we’re panicking a little bit; we’ve lost control. With the phone, at least we can stay connected. Photo: Elinor Carucci
9:14 It’s actually nice that we do this exercise together. Usually, we work out on our own. Last week, I took an online twerking class. I used to be a belly dancer, and I have a new respect for twerking — it’s really hard. Photo: Elinor Carucci
10:38 I’ve been with Eran for 27 years, so in this private moment, he just ignored me. We were not talking to one another. I set up the light. It was nice to watch him shower. Photo: Elinor Carucci
11:24 Eran was already working when Eden woke up. This was last week, when the schools were still figuring out the remote learning. Now Eden has to log in at school at eight in the morning. Photo: Elinor Carucci
11:36 We didn’t have hand sanitizer, so I went to the deli and bought whatever they had. I paid $10 for this tiny thing, and it smells heavily of fruit. Photo: Elinor Carucci
11:45 The other day, I made a list for the kids of all our bank accounts, our life insurance, the information of our accountant, all our passwords. I was like, “This is just in case.” Photo: Elinor Carucci
12:20 My mom lives in Israel, and she and I are talking every day on WhatsApp. I take her through the apartment. We went into Eden’s room, and she was very moved to see him. Photo: Elinor Carucci
12:36 At Trader Joe’s, a lot of things were gone and it was a little crazy, as if the end of the world had arrived. In Gristedes and the delis, there’s plenty of food, so we’re not hoarding. Photo: Elinor Carucci
12:59 All the handwashing now! Photo: Elinor Carucci
1:49 I’m watching a lot of news: CNN and Rachel Maddow and some Israeli news. Dr. Fauci is like our god. I’m trying to not overdo it. It makes my anxiety go up. Photo: Elinor Carucci
2:20 I’m teaching my class, called “Photographing the Familiar,” at ICP. Now I’m doing it through Zoom. On the upper left is my TA, Ed. Photo: Elinor Carucci
4:13 At first I was freaking out because so many of the video games are violent, and when he’s playing them, he’s like, “Die, die, die.” But he’s such a sweet, good-hearted boy that I guess it’s not contaminating his soul. Photo: Elinor Carucci
5:42 There is extra homework that Eden’s teacher recommended. This is math, his best subject. Photo: Elinor Carucci
7:54 It was Eran’s idea to play Talisman to have quality time as a family. It didn’t last too long. No one was much in the mood. You make your plans, and whatever happens, happens. Photo: Elinor Carucci
9:20 I was watching a television news segment about a family with a daughter who has a disability. They were already struggling, and now they’re in this moment, too. It was really hard to watch. Photo: Elinor Carucci

*This article appears in the March 30, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

A Photographer’s Diary of Life in Isolation