Neo Serafimidis: THE SHELTERING NIGHT
July 30th, 2021 – September 4th, 2021
In March 2020, Bay Area counties, followed closely by the State of California, issued shelter-in-place orders in response to rising COVID-19 infection rates. The week before, Neo Serafimidis’ employer had ordered employees to work from home for the next two weeks to “bend the curve.” After two weeks of barely going outside and increasingly stressful confinement, it was clear to Serafimidis that the shelter-in-place would go on for much longer.
Serafimidis began taking nightly walks, frequently finding himself walking past the homes of nearby friends. Eventually, he started texting them to reach out and connect in what seemed a strangely distant way. This led to photographing them through the windows of their homes as they gazed into a dark and uncertain world from which they were now mostly isolated. The result is part portraiture, part voyeurism, part street photography, and part documentation. The first images that he shared online resonated, and many people responded with a desire to participate in this new shared expression. Serafimidis realized that the almost unprecedented experience of a pandemic would be documented in a global photographic record, and he committed to adding his part. Eventually, it became a series of over 100 night portraits of friends, acquaintances, and strangers sheltering during those first uncertain months.
Neo Serafimidis is a fine art photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a member of the Bay Area Photographers’ Collective. His work was recently included in the deYoung Open at San Francisco’s deYoung Museum. Serafimidis studied art theory with American artist Charles Gaines, and the philosophy of art in the philosophy department at California State University, Fresno, earning a BA in Philosophy. During his studies, his primary work was electronic/experimental music and performance art. He founded the group Synesthesia Works, which produced a number of recordings, theater scores, performances, and sound installations. He attended graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he received a PhD in Philosophy. Neo’s day job is managing IT for a Bay Area book publisher.