"Six Feet", a photographic journey of many New Yorker's experiences during COVID-19, was born from the unlimited amount of free time photographer/producer Heather Leigh Cullum suddenly had due to quarantine.
Q: What inspired you to begin your work on Six Feet? What steps did you take to create content in the COVID era.
H: The book began with “The Front Door Project”. I was searching for ways to volunteer safely during the pandemic and find a way to put my talent to good use. I heard about a woman in another state who started this trend; I couldn't help but wonder how amazing it would be to take it to Brooklyn and offer no strings attached, free photographs. I designed a flyer and hung it around my neighborhood then I took to Instagram where it was shared hundreds of times!
The results: I created a three week schedule, organizing 4-5 shoots per day. Eventually, the project expanded from my backyard in Brooklyn, to all NYC boroughs. I asked subjects to wear masks and gloves if they had access to them and their clothing should be reflective of what they are currently wearing in isolation- some wore PJ's and others were full glam. Each shoot was 5 minutes and the rest of my time was spent explaining the project and learning about their experience in quarantine. I met so many fantastic people throughout this experience, which developed into connections I truly believe will stay active on both a professional and personal level.
Q: How has COVID-19 affected you personally and your creativity?
H: Unfortunately, I am part of the group of many who were laid off due to COVID-19, which took a major toll on the growth of my career. As a Producer working in Media, I saw first hand how the industry as a whole was set back. I have been applying non-stop for positions that specifically relate to my role as a way to not get off track.
"Creatively, I have been more active and energetically "on point" during this quarantine than I have been in months while working full time."
Q: What is your advice for other creatives who may be out of work or feeling unmotivated during this time?
H: Turn off Netflix, stop scrolling on Instagram, put down the bottle of wine, it's time to get your brain juices stirring again - Make your own version of a mood board, keep busy with home renovations, read an actual book! I promise your mind will feel refreshed when you start giving it a purpose again.
Q: Where can we see your project and all of your work?
H: "Six Feet" is out now! It is currently available for purchase online.
For updated information please check my Instagram: @heatherleighcullum as well as http://www.heatherleighcullum.com/