In early June 2020, the weekend before Gov. Andy Beshear started lifting pandemic lockdown restrictions, photographer Andrew Cenci sent disposable film cameras to five Louisville families, asking them to document life at home. Here are the images each photographer captured, with some of their thoughts about what seems, simultaneously, like yesterday and a lifetime ago.
Old Louisville at time of photos (now living in Beechmont)
Walks, walks, walks. And more walks. That is what our 2020 consisted of. With gyms being closed, my wife and I would take strolls around the neighborhood every day. At the time, we were living on Belgravia Court, right near St. James Court, which is one of Louisville’s most beautiful neighborhoods. These walks were a bright spot in a not-so-bright time.
All Sameera and I did was go to Kroger, get home, cook, then repeat. Going to the grocery was eerie, to say the least. You could tell everyone felt uncomfortable. It was nerve-racking getting through aisles and checkout lines. Who would have thought a simple mask could cause so much division and turmoil in America?
2020 was an exhausting year mentally but happened to be a great year for my creative project, Avenue Studios, which strives to bring creatives together. People were eager to support local endeavors in Louisville. I spent many days shipping out orders at the post office near the airport and at the downtown location on York Street. The employees were great to me, even with their backs against the wall amid staff shortages.
I’m a big fan of the Godfather trilogy, and anyone who has seen it knows it can take up most of your day. I watched the trilogy plenty of times, and watched The Sopranos and The Wire for the first time. I believe I got to start and finish Frasier as well, though I still don’t think tossed salads and scrambled eggs sound great together.
My kids — Noah, who was nine at the time, and Jack, who was 16 — visited with their grandmother in the driveway.
I grew up a bit of a vagrant and, prior to 2020, we were looking to move, but the lockdown forced us to stay in our home. I have become more comfortable in my own house again and have spent more time here in the last two years than I did the last eight years prior. Having moved around quite a few times as a kid, this sense of a singular home is new to me.
Four-year-old Remy snapped this first pic. Playing with the camera and — click.
Working from home
Desolate Willow Park. Chained-up playground and disappointment. “Why is my favorite playground closed?"
An apartment on Cherokee Parkway left their bubble machine on every day, which was a hopeful reminder during an unknown time
Quarantine Nights, party of three, Cherokee Triangle, splendid isolation.
Words by Casey
“Bless This Home”
Bookshelves can be a chaotic cluster of belongings — pictures, endless trinkets and books gathered over the years. A home, even more so. In the middle of all the chaos and clutter, we could still say, “Bless this home.”
Just like this vine overtaking an area of our yard that had been neglected most of the year, we began to see neglected, overgrown areas of our own lives. Then came the task of deciding if what was growing added beauty and value and should be nurtured and cared for, or if it should be cut away because it was choking out and suffocating what was underneath.
“Can’t See the Trees for the Forest”
In this picture, when I look at the forest, it’s hard to see the individual details of each tree. As I stand in the safety behind the porch railing, the forest overtakes my vision and makes it difficult to see the beauty of how each tree makes up the forest. In many ways, that’s how COVID affected our lives. We stayed in the safety of our home, looking out and trying to see the details of how our lives were going to it together. A general fog and confusion fell over everything, and the daily details of how to move forward became fuzzy and unknown."
Sitting six feet apart outside with a friend was as close as you could get to experiencing a “normal” hangout. Who knew six feet would become such a long distance?
“Peaceful Potted Porch Plants”
It felt safe behind these plants. Peaceful on the porch. On the other side was something familiar yet increasingly unknown.
“The People Rose”
Although many of the sprouts on the bush are dying, there are so many more that are persevering and holding onto growth and life. COVID produced many challenges for all people, some to the point of life or death. Amid all of that, we as a people rose up to overcome it.
“The Plants Are Greener Where You Water Them”
During quarantine, it’s likely that we all found areas of our lives that needed to be “watered.” We can’t control the outcome of the growth of the plant, but we can control whether we are doing the watering.
“Cards Now, Laundry Later”
While spending more time at home, it’s easy to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of chores. Sometimes you’re better off to take a break, play some cards and come back to the laundry later. the same is true in all types of work.
“The Cards We’ve Been Dealt”
No one could have predicted everything that transpired in 2020. The cards we’ve been dealt may not always be the best or what we would’ve hoped to have in our hand. Doing the best we can with what we have."
“Like Mother, Like Daughters”
At first glance, a too-often-posed, ignorant question to a mother and her adopted daughters is some version of, “Whose kids are those? They don’t look like yours.” Blended families are just that — families. A person can look different, think different, have different circumstances in which they came into the world, have a different type of hair, have different needs, have different desires — and still be family. These daughters are like their mother — people, human. My hope is that COVID has shown us that we’re all human."
An officer who asked to remain anonymous took these photos.