January 1, 2021

Fred

By Daniel Terna

Fred is a series of image sequences that I made during the 2020 Quarantine. After the New York City-wide shelter-in-place order was implemented in March 2020, I photographed my dad, Fred—a 96 year-old Holocaust survivor—on his semi-daily walks around our neighborhood of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Despite warnings from the news about the dangers of the virus to his demographic, my dad insisted on leaving the house to run errands that my mom or I could easily do for him. As he stubbornly said, “If I survived the concentration camps, I can survive this.”

Shot from a distance with a telephoto lens, these photos document my dad walking to and from the mailbox and the grocery store, quotidian episodes that in the moment felt sinister and life-threatening in the context of the pandemic.

I juxtaposed these photos with close-up views of his body and blossoming flowers, the latter of which I shot on my own walks outside, monumentalizing brief moments of escape from life inside.

The macro views and those taken from a distance represent both the ways in which we, New Yorkers, began physically avoiding each other on the street (and in the case of my own family, in our home), as well as the newfound connection to the natural world that we developed during quarantine.

In pairing the photos—images from afar and those taken up-close—I emphasize the prohibition against being close to other bodies.


Daniel Terna (b.1987) is a Brooklyn-based photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses on family history and inherited trauma, as well as diverse socio-political subjects related to public and private boundaries. In 2020, his work on his family during the quarantine was presented in a solo exhibition at Guertin’s Graphics, Red Hook, New York. Terna’s work has been exhibited in a two-person show at LY, Los Angeles and in select group shows at Jack Barrett, New York (2019), Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York (2018), Baxter St. Camera Club of NY (2015), and the New Wight Biennial, UCLA (2014). His work has also been screened at selected venues, including the Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles (2020), MoMA PS1’s film program in Greater New York, Queens (2016), the New York Film Festival’s Convergence Program (2014), Eyebeam, New York (2013), the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York (2012), and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Cambridge, MA (2011). Terna was a resident in the Collaborative Fellowship Program at UnionDocs, Brooklyn, and was awarded the Cuts and Burns Residency at Outpost Artist Resources in Ridgewood, NY. His work has been featured in Still Magazine, The New York Times, Dazed, Oxford American, Conveyor Magazine, Aint Bad Magazine, and Slate. Terna graduated with a BA in photography from Bard College and received his MFA from the International Center of Photography-Bard.