March 2020, I left New York City and returned to my family in Italy on one of
the last international flights to depart during the COVID-19 outbreak. New York
was seeing coronavirus cases rise quickly, while in Italy, quarantine was already
well underway. My parents’ customary warm embrace was replaced by a medical
exam and temporary solitude. I was rushed to my bedroom and didn’t see my
family for fifteen days. I took the photo of my mother in one of my first
interactions with her after self-quarantining. The other portrait depicts a
close Italian friend in New York, before the pandemic.