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The Real Life Story of Social Distancing during COVID-19

Real Life Portraits for Real Life People

“I’m LOVING the Balancing Color tutorial. It’s allowing me to explore new ideas and I’m applying your techniques as I watch this tutorial. So far, the results are amazing!”

~Larry Adkins

larry adkins composite photography tutorial testimonial

In 5, 10, or 20 years, how will you remember these crazy times of “social distancing” and “facial coverings”?

While photographers around the globe are making silly pictures of toilet paper thrones and oddly posed models with PPE’s, as a Creative Portrait Photographer I’m in the unique position of being able to tell the story from a real-life perspective.

Of course, if toilet paper thrones and oddly sexy models with face masks on is your thing…

Ok, you’re not. Whew! Me either.

Instead, my take on the times of COVID-19, which, BTW, is “19” because it originated in 2019, not because there were 18 previous viruses that came before, is to take a more real life approach and reveal what we all may be going through with our own friends and family.

To mask up and social distance or not to mask up and social distance?

social distancing composite and creative portrait during covid 19 quarantine

Of course, it’s good practice to follow the recommendations of the scientists and medical experts who clearly know a whole lot more than we ourselves do but this Photo Composite pretty much sums up the debate, sometimes heated, that my wife and I have over this topic.

She shields up and I can’t… Ok, don’t 😔.

In fact, she’s always teasing me about being the guy that will lick everything in spite of all the viral risks, and I’m a little embarrassed to say, she’s pretty much right.

In case you’re wondering how this image evolved.

So, where did the idea for this “Social Distancing” portrait come from?

Well, I’ve always found the 6-foot distancing guideline a little odd and somewhat arbitrary, fully understanding if not 6 feet then what, and imagined how funny it would be if everyone carried around a tape measure making sure they kept that 6-foot distance from one another.

I also wanted to portray the differing attitudes, which also represent our individual personalities, my family has towards wearing face masks.

taren ulsrud and luka ulsrud with face masks on during covid 19 shutdown

My wife Taren and son Luka are definitely the rule followers of our family and wear face masks whenever out in public.

jason ulsrud and niko ulsrud not social distancing during covid 19 outbreak

While my son Niko and I are definitely the risk-takers of our family and resist following the rules.

So, with this idea, I set out to photograph the scene and characters.

The Story Behind the M&M’s

With the scene photographed and the day before the photos of myself and other family characters, the perfect thing happened in the parking lot of Lowe’s.

Having grown up in a Chiropractic family and been a Chiropractor for 15+ years myself, I solidly have the philosophy of letting my immune system handle foreign insults such as the virus.

Thus, my wife is always teasing me about being the one who would be licking everything.

So, as we were leaving Lowe’s and walking back to the car, Niko opened a bag of peanut M&M’s I bought for him spilling a couple onto the ground.

I yelled, “7 Second Rule!”

And of course I grabbed them up and threw them in my mouth before Taren could say anything.

The look on her face was priceless.

I’m always amazed at the transformation a portrait goes through from before and after.

Real Life Portraits

Earlier I mentioned being in the unique position, as a Creative Portrait Artist, of capturing a real-life perspective of the times we live in, the feelings we share, and the emotions we struggle with and enjoy.

Photography and art are an essential element to the history of the human experience as well as our personal historical experience.

While there’s so much to fear and worry about with COVID-19, it’s important to embrace and remember what makes us all uniquely different.

So, do you consider yourself the rule follower or the M&M licker?

Comments (8)

Your creativity and technical style never to seem to amaze me!
You are A modern day Rockwell.

I love this! Love the creativity and the execution. Thanks for showing before and after and explaining your thought process. My husband and son are the rule followers. The rest of us push a little bit. We would be fighting over the M&M’s.

We’re a lot alike then. Thanks so much for commenting.

Are you going to do a tutorial on this???

Yes, I’m planning on doing that next week, which means I’ll release it the following week.

Love it. Great composition! Great montage!
Thanks for sharing it.

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