In response to stay-at-home orders issued by the State of Maryland on March 30, 2020, Baltimore-based photographer Zachary Z. Handler created ERRANDS, a portrait series documenting the shared shelter-in-place experiences of people around the globe.
Handler conducts portrait sessions remotely via FaceTime, and motivated by a desire to provide care while maintaining connections, every session begins with a conversation. Handler then places the iPhone on which his subject appears in unique tableaux created within the confines of his home using everyday objects and materials close at hand. The resulting photographs capture the joy realized through discovering something remarkable in an ordinary place and through connecting with others despite social distancing. Each ERRANDS portrait depicts more than one person:
in addition to the sitter, the artist’s presence is reflected in the objects and environment in which he stages the photographs. Handler has, to date, photographed 275 people from locations near and far: from Baltimore to San Francisco, from Germany to India. Like the pandemic, the project is still unfolding.
Inspired by the mobile phones on which the series depends and the improvisational aspect of the sessions, this presentation references the children’s game of ‘telephone,’ in which a message is whispered from one participant to the next. Each photograph in this presentation is related to the one preceding and following it in some way, whether through color palette, subject’s gesture, or an object that repeats across frames. This chain of association invites the viewer to participate in the search for connections.
Virtual Artist’s Talk: Zachary Z. Handler
February 18, 2021
Register here (via Webex)
* Click images in gallery above to enlarge
Zachary Z. Handler is a photographer based in Baltimore, Maryland. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he was a Linehan Artist Scholar, in 2003 and a Master of Arts Administration from Columbia University Teachers College in 2005. In addition to his work as a visual artist, he has constructed a career where the fields of healthcare and art education intersect to provide community and access programs to individuals who are D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind. He has also taught arts education classes nationally and internationally to D/deaf and Hard of Hearing youth in foster care.
Behind the Scenes of ERRANDS
Inspiration & details from the set of Samuel’s portrait, from the series ERRANDS
Inspiration for Samuel’s portrait came from a scene in the 1977 Italian horror film Suspiria. The artist projected onto the set a slide modified through collage.
Constructing the set of Andy’s portrait, from the series ERRANDS
Andy, seen on an iPhone, chats with Handler as the artist places a Big Mac, carton of french fries, and large drink around the iPhone on which Andy appears. In a nod to artist Boo Ritson, the McDonald’s meal is covered in wet, dripping white paint.
Outtakes from Greg’s portrait session, from the series ERRANDS
The presentation of this exhibition and public programming is supported by an arts program grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts.