Ahmed Gaber

Locked Down in a Narrow Space

When I first arrived in New York City, I felt like a stranger. I felt lonely. I was living in a small apartment in Brooklyn with three other photographers—Rico from the Philippines and Mostafa and Owise who, like me, are both Egyptian. We were too busy to get to know each other very well.

Then COVID-19 hit, and we found ourselves in 24-7 lockdown together. It was not easy for us not to go out; as photographers, we were not used to that. Then, it got worse, when Mostafa and Owise got very sick with virus symptoms. Our lives became consumed with worry and fear that something bad might happen to them. Luckily, they started feeling better and our lives fell into a rhythm, consumed by Zoom calls, talking with friends, and attending virtual classes.

Locked down in the same narrow space, we still had different ideas, different dreams, and, each one of us, our own problems. Yet the pandemic has drawn us closer. We now have a shared history of survival and taking care of one another, of time spent watching movies, working out, and celebrating life. It has been sweet and it has been difficult, but we have gotten through it together.