So, to the answer your question, I worked on this book from 2019 to 2021, and I was quite depressed when the pandemic hit in March 2020, I basically stopped shooting for a few months. I'm a person who really likes to connect with people and there was so much anxiety and fear during the pandemic. It was impossible to keep working for a while... And so, you asking about this idea of human interaction as a prerequisite for life fulfillment is so, so true. I think people need people. And so slowly, over the summer of 2020, I started going out with my mask, taking pictures of people, seeing these groups of kids in Tompkins Square Park.
It seemed like everybody who wasn't from New York had left and all that remained were just the people who grew up here. All of the international students were gone. All of the people who wanted to leave and could leave had left, and it was really just kind of this raw New York City. And it felt extremely real in a certain way. There would be these groups of kids hanging out going between Washington Square Park and Tompkins Square Park. And in a way, the summer of 2020 was a really wonderful and beautiful time because you saw those interactions between people come out again; you saw people coming together again.
There were beautiful moments in the park with this singer, Pink Cloudz, who would perform in the park, and hundreds of kids would come, and they would dance. New York City really emerged powerfully as New York City. People were doing whatever they wanted, and it felt really good. On the other hand, there were all of these fireworks, all of these protests, all of these helicopters and police everywhere. It was crazy, and sometimes it was really scary. I've never experienced anything like it. But there was a real sense of coming together, and I'm so glad that you see it in these pictures. It's really important to me. This idea of human connection, it's really the most important thing in the world. I know it sounds like something out of some poster on a therapist's wall or something, but it really is important, connecting with people. And that had been kind of what my work is really about. It's about celebrating people as people for who they are or who they want to be. We're all different in some ways, but we're all the same as people.