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Vision Under Quarantine: 15 Baltimore-Based Photographers to Follow on Instagram

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We are living through our generation’s greatest tragedy, a major historical event that will change life as we know it in countless and unexpected ways. It’s imperative that we document, remember, and pay attention to our daily lives during the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine, realizing that each of us offers a valuable record and our experiences may offer proof against those depicted in mainstream media or claimed by government officials. For those of us who are artists, it’s more important than ever that we use our skills, share our stories, and express ourselves authentically—not because our quarantine downtime is an obligation to be super-productive, but because our experiences are valid and there are opportunities for others to learn from them, right now and in the future.

Under quarantine, we are bombarded by terrifying questions every day and there are few answers on the horizon. We are stuck at home, many of us alone, and we are suffering from fear, sickness, sudden poverty, and a lack of medical and health resources. We look to the news each day, and it is always dire. In many cases, the news is designed to convince us to read more news and the downward spiral is not good for our mental health. My phone reports that my average screen time is up 40% from usual, and I suspect my blood pressure is, too. Between frequent text messaging to friends across the country, scanning Twitter for the real conditions inside hospitals, struggling with home schooling, missing Zoom calls for work, and stressing out over grocery store shortages, it is difficult to achieve moments of clarity, beauty, and much-needed quiet.

Personally, I am finding some solace in my Instagram feed. Scrolling through the recent updates of the artists and photographers I regularly follow is a high point of my day, and now their work has taken on a greater urgency. Not only are these images expertly made, but the Baltimore city scenes, everyday depictions of families and inhabitants, and imaginative visions they create give me hope and make me feel less isolated.

After consulting with some of my favorite collaborators, I compiled this list of 15 Baltimore-based photographers, many of whom are regularly documenting their daily lives and posting to Instagram, forming an essential record as it unfolds during this global pandemic. Many of these individuals are recording the most significant historical event of our time with sensitivity and precision, while others are presenting a much-needed escape from reality and a reminder that beauty’s power is persistent. Either way, they offer us a connection to our city and community that we are all crucially missing during these weeks in quarantine.

 

Shae McCoy's Instagram Profile

Shae McCoy @shae.mccoy.photos @west_baltimore_ruins

Shae McCoy’s portraits reflect a rich, textured, and inquisitive aesthetic. She zooms in close to capture the intimate details of her subjects, shoots mainly outside and on location in Baltimore, and renders them with technical precision and respect. If you want to feel closely connected to other Baltimoreans through daily experiences, McCoy can get you there.

 

Devin Allen's Instagram Profile

Devin Allen @bydvnlln

The stark contrast in Devin Allen’s velvety black-and-white images and a natural instinct towards experimental cropping made him an overnight sensation after his photos from the Baltimore Uprising were featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 2015. Allen is prolific, posting images almost every day, and his profile offers a vast array of first-person observations from Baltimore streets, parks, and homes. You really get the sense of seeing Baltimore through Allen’s keen eye, and he notices details that would escape most of us. This vantage point is a gift and Allen applies it evenly towards a variety of subjects.

 

Audrey Gatewood's Instagram Profile

Audrey Gatewood @audreygatewood

Looking for a much-needed escape? Surrealism meets fashion in Audrey Gatewood’s work, where collaged photo elements combined with beautiful human subjects merge into dreamscapes. Gatewood uses high-contrast lighting to create a tension and pensive energy in each image, where secrets are revealed and embellished into epic fantasies.

 

 

Kyle Myles Instagram Profile

Kyle Myles @kylemyles

Intimate, everyday moments documented in black and white, where stark abstract compositions and technical acuity focuses your attention. If you want to mediate on the exquisite gems of everyday life and cultivate a sense of calm, Kyle Myles will make you feel grounded. You can collect a selection of photos, all shot in late March 2020, in a small book called While We’re Here available for $20 at his website.

 

Jill Fannon's Instagram Profile

Jill Fannon @jfannonphoto @allofthewindows

It’s no secret that we love Jill Fannon! She shot the last cover of our print journal and works with BmoreArt on the regular shooting portraits, events, and art with a keen and sensitive eye. Fannon’s Instagram includes intimate scenes at home with her two young children, her weekend gig as the official photographer for the Ravens cheerleaders, still lives that make you think twice, and the ability to render skin, surfaces, and textures with sensuality and nuance. When she goes experimental, the fun is amplified through jarring juxtapositions and a sly sense of humor. It feels good to laugh and to feel Fannon laughing with you.

 

SHAN Wallace's Instagram Profile
Shan Wallace image from 410 at the BMA

SHAN Wallace @_yoshann

Baltimore native SHAN Wallace tells personal and poetic stories with her camera, much of it centering around family in Baltimore. Although it is currently closed, Wallace’s site-specific installation at the Baltimore Museum of Art will be up through June 28. Titled 410, for the Baltimore area code, the show is intended as a love letter to the people of Baltimore. On IG, Wallace presents a range of articles and images, from personal and behind the scenes to links to exhibitions and we look forward to the unique images she will capture in quarantine.

 

Kyle Pompey's Instagram Profile

Kyle Pompey @niceshotkyle

Kyle Pompey is the owner of Nice Shot Media and his output is versatile and candid, shooting as comfortably in a studio as in the street. His recent photos document the realities of living in Baltimore under quarantine for Covid-19 and he offers timeless shots and “defining moments,” often with multiple subjects. Pompey’s images capture the way this crisis is hitting people in Baltimore, especially their vulnerability and resilience. His recent project, a book called Perspective: Baltimore, is a collaboration with Nikiea Redmond and Sadiq Ali and pairs his photos with poems.

 

Mollye Miller's Instagram Profile

Mollye Miller @mollyemillerphotography

Mollye Miller, a writer and photographer, started a new portrait series under quarantine depicting life in front yards and porches in Baltimore. Throughout her portraits there is a consistent clarity, a clean and incisive look at each of her subjects that reveals their humanity and creates a sense of empathy. Some photographers are able to find the best features in their subjects, rendering them as ideal versions of themselves, and Miller offers this within stable geometric compositions that create a feeling of connection.

 

J.M. Giordano's Instagram Profile

J.M. Giordano @jmgiordanophoto

A consummate photojournalist with an unflinching eye, J.M. Giordano’s newest series, “Living Behind Glass,” features individuals under quarantine for coronavirus in the Baltimore region. Rather than feeling depressing or lonely, Giordano’s subjects (including me, full disclosure) emulate strength, dignity, and a feisty attitude that has not been dulled by this difficult time. Giordano’s work has been featured in Playboy, GQ, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Washington Post, Baltimore City Paper, and others. His recent series about the decline of Baltimore’s Bethlehem steel plant is currently on display through August 16, 2020, at the Museum of Industry in a solo exhibition.

 

Glenford Nuñez's Instagram Profile

Glenford Nuñez @glenfordnunez @glenforddraws

Fashion photographer Glenford Nuñez offers ethereal, otherworldly, and elegant visions of women wearing original couture designs, including pieces by Baltimore’s Bishme Cromartie. Even more fun than his fashion shots, his other Instagram offers a different feed of paintings and drawings based on his photos that blur, enhance, and complicate his images.

 

Howard Korn's Instagram Profile

Howard Korn @howard_korn_photo

Howard Korn is a commercial photographer who specializes in portraits and landscapes that are magazine-worthy, with a clean and precise feel. His recent photos of doctors and health professionals on the job fighting the coronavirus are inspiring and his home quarantine photos of his dogs are lovable and satisfying. 

 

E. Brady Robinson's Instagram Profile

E. Brady Robinson @ebradyrobinson

E. Brady Robinson is a Patterson Park-based fine artist turned commercial/fashion photographer and stylist. She regularly photographs musicians and fashionistas in the studio and has a separate account for her yummy food porn shots as well at @bmoreculinary. Robinson recently photographed Sidewalk Serenades for BmoreArt, the Creative Alliance’s intimate concert-for-hire series initiated after schools and businesses were shut down in Maryland. The series has been discontinued after the recent stay-at-home order but Robinson continues to document her neighborhood with sensitivity and style, and we look forward to the return of her paparazzi-style event photos.

 

Justin Tsucalas' Instagram Profile

Justin Tsucalas @plaidphoto

Justin Tsucalas has shot the majority of BmoreArt’s print magazine covers and his ongoing series of portraits of artists in their studios and workspaces has been a mainstay since our first issue. Tsucalas’ lifestyle photos are beloved for their warmth, humor, and unusual compositions and he has lately taken to photographing his two young children at home, with the hashtag #okparenting. He gives us all permission to enjoy our families’ imperfections and this generosity and care can be felt in every frame.

 

Kelvin Bulluck's Instagram Profile

Kelvin Bulluck @kelbpics

Kelvin Bulluck has photographed two of BmoreArt’s covers and we love his magical ability to render human skin like satin. His subjects appear like muses and goddesses, and for Bulluck, beauty is synonymous with power. His subjects include a lot of models and beautiful people and offer an escape from the reality of daily life, but he has the ability to depict regular humans as the best versions of themselves. We don’t know how he does it, but we love it and look forward to seeing more.

 

Elena Volkova's Instagram Profile

Elena Volkova @thinstring and Yevgeniy K’banchik @kbanchik

This husband and wife team create some of the most interesting, hilarious, and beautiful photos and videos you can find in the region. Both are Ukrainian immigrants and their life, as parents and partners in Hampden, as well as professional pursuits, like Volkova’s wet-plate collodian tintypes, create a multifaceted portrait of life in Baltimore’s creative community. Check out K’Banchik’s YouTube series where his character, Boris, attempts DIY HG and cooking projects, and dig through their Instagram archives to find their holiday-themed family portraits.

 

Yevgeniy K'banchik's Instagram Profile

All images taken from the artists' Instagram accounts

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