Inside World/Outside World

Shutting the Doors in Yerevan — April 2020

18 min read by norayr.
Shooting indoors doesn’t feel exactly like my domain.

​✪ Note: This is a digital reprint of an essay originally published in Monochrome 1.20 — a community photography magazine by Analog.Cafe. You can read it along with 13 more authors’ works on paper, the way they were intended to be. Get your copy of Monochrome here and support our charitable cause.

I tried to photograph the indoors — myself in the doorway of a university room and the city lights. But the shot revealed the street, cars, and a reflection of a tire repair garage name — an accidental double exposure.
I long to go outside.
I love to photograph outdoors, in the favelas.
Kond: one of the oldest quarters of Yerevan.

The government scheduled a lockdown, giving us some time to prepare. So I went to explore, looking for insights and inspiration.
I walked through the old industrial buildings.
I took photos of dusty old tools, parts, and mechanisms.
Old monasteries.

Why would anyone want to spend their time indoors?
Tomorrow we will be locked in. Yet there’s plenty of work to do at the office.
A car shop, to fix and maintain the car.
A place to spend time with friends and the local community.
A place to dance.
A place to hang out with friends.
Party costumes from a past gathering. Hazmat suits, masks, and cigarettes.

When I’m indoors…
…I’d look at the street, to the city.
Wherever I am…
…I’d look for windows and exits.
I often go to explore abandoned buildings. Even then, I still look for passages leading outside.

My partner, Sona, doesn’t seem to mind being indoors.
Even if it’s cold.
She also has friends.
This is her friend.
She feels calm while indoors.
But she doesn’t mind looking out of the window, too.
Sona and Jimi. Hold on, are they related?
Time passes.

The lockdown begins.
Luckily, we already moved in, so we get to spend it together.
“How was the supper?”
“Whose clothes should go here?”
Sona is chatting with friends over the phone.
We take pictures of ourselves.
Black and white, scanned without the border.
She likes lighting fixtures.
But she misses the sun.

We drink coffee, no cigarettes…
…And work from home.
‘Til dark.
The dishes are done. Good night.

Perhaps there’ll be some sun for us tomorrow.