Sebastian, Drew, and Scott With Copper and Watson

Scott: “We moved in just before the US reaction to the virus really got serious. I was in England during that time and only just made it back after the EU lockdown but before the UK got included. Drew was panicked trying to call me in the middle of the night to get me to go to the airport as fast as possible, before the lockdown started. And as an immigrant to the USA (from Australia) it was a delicate and trying time.

But life here is great for us, albeit complicated home schooling a teenager.

I’ve worked remotely since 2017 so none of this is new to me but to Drew this is very different. She’s got the burden of managing Sebastian’s schooling but also our quarantine has let her explore herself and get into projects, like our vegetable garden, which she desired for years.

My work is considered essential. I sell hops internationally for beer production. Drew recently worked as a distiller, so I guess ‘booze keeps the lights on’ could be our motto.

We miss our lives, we miss our friends, we miss our places and our town and I miss travelling for work.

But, we know this is serious, our sacrifice is essential and people will survive this if we stay at home, together.”

Drew: “I was folding clothes kind of half listening to news broadcasts about the pandemic come on the radio when i heard of Trump’s sudden ban on everyone coming from the EU. That’s when everything got seriously personal for me very quickly. Luckily we found out when a clarification was put out afterward that it wasn’t for folks coming from the UK— which honestly seemed quite an arbitrary decision, but I felt better knowing he was actually coming home to me, even though I held my breath til his last flight touched down. I can’t bear to imagine the pain that this separation must be causing families separated by borders both map-drawn and pandemic-wise, but it underscores for me the pain that people separated from their families at our southern border must feel every single day, and our need to collectively outcry against this.

Aside from this, it’s been fairly business as usual. I speak with my dad several times a week. He’s a deeply religious man and he lives in Harlan county. He was a coal miner til the past few years when he retired and was diagnosed with black lung disease. If he got Covid-19 it wouldn’t be very pretty, so I do my usual long child-as-parent lecture for him to stay the hell inside and to ask me if he needs help finding sources for the news he hears. Taking some several hours with him to separate the sensation from the fact makes me feel like I have some control over the situation— that maybe he listens because I patiently read the statistics to him repeatedly.

One unexpected positive is seeing my son’s personality blossom out of school. He was really struggling in middle school before all of this, but now being allowed to study at his own pace I see him really becoming interested in the things he is studying. He’s been playing his ukelele, cello and guitar quite a lot more and has really been putting time that he didn’t have before into drawing and exploring his interests. I too have taken to painting and fabric arts during this time- things I had to put on the back burner before due to the business of life. I read in a story not long ago about how taken out of our function, we are truly left to explore our form and I am choosing to count these as positives during these difficult months.”

Lexington in the Time of COVID-19 is an artwork about people practicing social distancing at a time of a deadly virus. And also offering kindness.

Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova capture photographs at the periphery of American culture, where drag queens, discarded couches, and abandoned motel signs exist.