Looking out
Coastside artist and photographer Susan Friedman captured local residents in their homes to represent life in unusual times during shelter-in-place orders. Photo courtesy Susan Friedman

“A Window Into a Changed World” is more than a 108-page catalog of Susan Friedman’s portraits of Coastside families. It’s a reflection of the times.

Friedman began taking these photos of families and individuals behind windows of their homes on March 27. What began as a side project turned into a technical and logistical challenge that yielded captivating results. Through the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the images of 70 families taken from a socially distant vantage point carried a certain weight. Friedman was grateful to the families who let her capture a glimpse into their lives.

Friedman will host a socially distant launch party and book signing at 6 p.m. on July 17 outside Cafe Society. Steve Abrams and Clifford Hunt will provide some live entertainment with jazz and a poetry reading. The book can be purchased at Personal FX in Half Moon Bay and on Friedman’s website, susanfriedmanphoto.com.

“Each one was a separate challenge, to say the least,” Friedman said. “But it was fun. And that’s what interests me, the challenges, rather than that you know what’s predictable.

“You never knew what was going to be reflected in the window,” she said.

Accompanying most portraits is a statement from the families. Some are brief, others are longer and reveal a lot of emotion from the subjects about their status while living through a pandemic. For Friedman, combining images with text created new meaning. Learning people’s stories, from frontline workers to those who had lost their jobs, was impactful. Friedman also made it a point to recognize frontline workers on duty, particularly volunteers from Ayudando Latinos a Soñar.

“Looking through the glass and seeing reflections of lives lived, the poignant smiles, brought me back to my own family growing up, where we sometimes sheltered from a storm or sought refuge when we were sick,” Friedman’s

artist statement reads. “I hope these photographs reflect

this time with joy and not sorrow.”

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