ROXBURY, NJ – Empty playgrounds. Shoppers wearing gloves and face masks. Store parking lots barren of cars.
The photographs of the Roxbury area during the ongoing COVID-19 clampdown capture a normally busy place turned stark, strange and foreboding.
The shots were taken as a spur-of-the-moment personal project by Landing resident, photographer and school counselor Kelly Korovich.
Said she behaved as instructed for about a week: She stayed indoors with her husband and children, practicing “social distancing” and doing her part to “flatten the curve.”
But there came a point Saturday when Korovich could no longer resist the urge to document with her camera scenes from a situation unprecedented in recent American history.
“This whole idea of documenting the pandemic just came about last week,” said the 31-year-old Korovich. “I have my own children. I’m stuck inside, working from home aside my husband.”
Korovich said she began photographing her children as they home-schooled and coped with the new routine. “Then, on Saturday, I decided I was going to go out throughout the town and just take pictures around the places we usually go as a family.”
She took about 700 photographs that day. Eventually, the awfulness of what she saw took a toll. It was capturing the construction of a coronavirus testing site at County College of Morris that finally brought her to tears, Korovich said.
“There’s like a different kind of mood and eeriness when you’re outside and there’s vacant parking lots,” she said. “The stores are all closed down. Seeing the vacant playgrounds. It was just very heartbreaking to see all of that. And when I went to CCM to look at the (testing) tents, from photographing all day, the emotions took over. It was just so emotionally overwhelming, seeing that.”
She’s trained in psychology, so Korovich can’t help but ponder the long-term effect this ordeal will have on society.
“There’s a lot that’s going to be changing,” she said. “What might happen in the future now? I think this virus has a bigger impact on us than just the health impact.”
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