It’s 9 weeks into quarantine. I’ve basically completed all my university work having had 1344 to burn – the fact I calculated this proves the severity of my boredom. Alas, an artist is never truly bored, especially when in possession of a DSLR. Hence, I embarked on my wonder around a deserted Liverpool town centre.
As I navigated the all-too familiar streets, it struck me how different it felt from my memories before university. I used to walk past the same buildings on my way to school, but now they took on a new gravitas. Instead of dismissing them as features on the ever morbid trudge to my registration at 8:30, the townhouses took on a life autonomous from my previous associations. Using my lens, I quite literally focussed on all of the nuanced characteristics these structures I usually passed by.
Now it just happened to be in one of the clearly irrelevant articles that I’ve spent my days of isolation sifting through that I happened upon the word ‘sonder’. It is a painfully poetic word with few applicable contexts so I really don’t blame you for not knowing its definition – so here it is:
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Without falling into the same painfully romantic category as the author of this definition, I really did feel this way about these buildings and their residents that day. As you look at these images try thinking about their existence: how old are they; who lives in them or works in them; what does the inside look like and so on and so forth. It brought me a little but of odd peace.