Andrea Klerides was one of our eight featured photographers in our 3D, immersive, virtual Bokeh Focus Exhibit 2020 — The New World: Isolation.
Andrea Klerides is a 31-year-old photographer living in Astoria, New York. She studied broadcast journalism and political science at Hofstra University and worked in news and media for six years before opening her own photography business. Klerides always had a camera in hand from her early teenage years, so it seemed only natural that when she opened her own business she went to what she loved most. Her work today focuses on corporate and celebrity events, capturing big life moments and family portraiture.
When COVID-19 struck New York City and the surrounding boroughs, Klerides’s inner journalistic instincts kicked in. She felt she needed to document what was going on in the world around her. The city that never sleeps was forced to shut down. Streets were empty. Business closed. Roads and parks were wide open. Isolation took its toll on many.
As a native New Yorker, Klerides is excited to be part of the Bokeh Focus 2020 Exhibit as it connects people from around America and the world in an effort to share the isolating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a historic moment from health, social, economic and political perspectives. It is important that it be documented,” she said. “I believe it is our duty as photographers to document and share the world around us with others.”
Klerides’s Artist Statement
Hello everyone! My name is Andrea Klerides and I am a photographer in New York City and the tri-state area. I am very honored to be part of the exhibit that the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University has put together to showcase the impacts of isolation during this pandemic. It is incredibly important that as photographers we help show the impact of any social, economic or political event. Our job is to document what is happening around us.
While I mainly focus on families and events, I have a background in news and journalism so when COVID-19 brought the city that never sleeps to a halt, I couldn’t just sit inside. I would literally argue with myself — what are you doing, get out there! My day-to-day work of capturing smiling families and corporate events stopped so I went back to what I know — man on the street journalism. What is going in the outside world? How much have things changed? My exhibit photos evolved from a freelancing gig for one of the major news networks. The network wanted to get us out there as photographers and see what was happening in our neighborhoods. After my first day out, I just kept going out and taking photos. It was the best form of therapy and sanity I could get at the time. I was doing what I love while facing and unpacking the reality of the initial impacts of COVID-19 on New York City. I was able to stand in the middle of normally busy streets in the middle of the day in Queens with hardly a single car or person around.
I have always seen the world in what I like to call snapshots or moments. The minute I finally left my apartment for the first time with my camera, I was nervous about what I would see and encounter — mainly from a health perspective but also from the perspective of seeing my neighborhood and the city that I love almost crippled by this disease. People were losing jobs and risking their lives to keep us safe. The photos I shared with you tonight are a small snapshot of how things looked in Astoria at the beginning of the pandemic. Quiet and isolated. If you look at the photos of the school and the playground you can hear the children laughing and the bell ringing but there’s no one there. At the bus stop, you see a woman sitting there and can hear the cars and buses drive by, but she’s alone. In the park you usually see and hear people talking, running and playing but it is quiet except for one or two people.
For any of us that did venture out, we were all curious what the new normal looked like. Things continue to change, especially since we now are learning to manage COVID in our own ways and within our own circles. Again, thank you for choosing to showcase my work. It’s wonderful to be included in an exhibit like this so that we can connect and share stores, which perhaps is the one thing that we miss most during this time of isolation.
Statement edited for clarity.
© Andrea Klerides— All content & photos
Explore Klerides‘s work: @AndreaKlerides & @AndreaKayImages
Contact Klerides for photography sessions on Andrea Kay Images