Through My Lens: Recurrence

Through My Lens is a new community series that features the first-person stories behind photos from across the East Coast.

Photographer Rachael Blakey shares the personal story behind her image ‘Recurrence’.

I look at this photograph, and I feel its emptiness. Unable to control a situation that seems to be running on autopilot.

Photographer Rachael Blakey took this photo in New Brunswick on October 25, 2020. (Rachael Blakey)

It feels like I'm in a movie. I try to fast forward myself in time to see how it's going to play out. Suddenly, my feelings of emptiness are jolted away and replaced by a wound of sorrow over the loss of creativity that once filled this place.

The second wave is here.

My elderly mother phones up from the United Kingdom with a desperation in her voice and asks, "Where are they putting them all? There's so many people dying."

My parents live in one of the worst affected areas in Europe for COVID-19. I try to reassure them. I haven't the heart to tell them not far from where they live, an abandoned factory has been converted into a temporary morgue, with cheap wooden coffins and freezers.

I tell them to wear their masks, don't touch your face and wash your hands often.

"There's no bread or milk again," she tells me, "the shelves are empty. People are going crazy, pushing and shoving to get food."

The impact of COVID-19 is different, in different places. But no matter where you are, it needs the same thing; human contact.

On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization confirmed COVID-19 a global pandemic.

New legislation and bylaws have been made which have not existed in the past. A State of Emergency was declared in New Brunswick on March 19.

Our lives were recognizable and we had a thirst for the routine and familiar. But now we must have a different viewpoint.

COVID-19 is causing disarrangement across the globe and could change the course of society for many years. Extricating ourselves from this pandemic will hopefully show us the way to move forward in society, in a positive way.

We cannot keep repeating the same mistakes as we have done in the past. To be able to move forward and grow, many aspects in society need to change; climate issues, healthcare, societal inclusion, inequality, food insecurity and high unemployment.

Coming out of this pandemic we have the opportunity to remodel our economies and societies to be strong and inclusive.

During a period of uncertainty, what is known is that being adaptable is a key skill for now and the future.

Our choices make us who we are.


Rachael Blakey


Rachael Blakey is a photographer based in New Brunswick. Her work has been published by several magazines and news organizations including National Geographic, CBC, and BBC. You can find her on Instagram at @rachaelb321.