In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Whitehorse photographer Alistair Maitland felt broken. His work photographing people and events evaporated as Yukoners retreated into their homes to isolate for weeks on end. Maitland hadn’t realized until then how much of his own identity was wrapped up in his work highlighting the identities, adventures and achievements of others.
Taking a cue from fellow northern photographer, Pat Kane, Maitland eventually found a way to connect in spite of confinement.
The resulting work, presented in Doortraits:Intimate Pandemic Images, serves as a way to record something that, even in its darkest moments, begged to be documented. It was an experience that was bigger than a person, a family, a community, or a territory. At the same time, it was so individualized, that it was impossible to understand its enormity without focusing on specific, personal stories.
Doortraits includes a selection of the hundreds of images Maitland took in 2020, of families, volunteers, graduates, employees and more. The images serve to capture a time that can’t be forgotten, but they tell a bigger story than that of simply being stuck inside. They speak to the creativity and courage of Yukoners—the desire to connect even when we feel cut off, the strength of community, and the way Maitland and his subjects were able to support each other through mutual struggle.
As Maitland puts it, Yukoners are so giving of themselves. They’ll show up for each other, even if it’s just to the front door.
The exhibit runs June 7 to August 27. Gallery hours are Monday - Friday, 10am-5pm.
Monday, June 7 - Friday, August 27