Cumberland photographer capturing a sign of the times with isolation portraits

"There's so many people coming together in this time of being separated."

Photos part of Joslyn Kilborn’s isolation portraits project. Photo by Joslyn Kilborn.

Joslyn Kilborn is getting to know a lot of people close up, from afar.

Kilborn is a professional photographer in Cumberland and wanted to capture a moment in the middle of history with her isolation portraits – images taken with a long lens as individuals, couples or families gather within the confines of their home.

“It’s not just a normal portrait, but it’s capturing what you’re doing at home – someone can be at a window with the trees reflecting in it – the environment is there and showing what you’re missing out.”

With years of photography of experience, Kilborn, who has been shooting professionally for about four years, explained she is about to go back to school to complete her master’s degree in psychotherapy – a field in which she said shares a lot of commonalities with taking portraits.

“Both share an intimate space with a whole bunch of people that you’re getting to know.”

Isolation portraits have been popping up throughout the photographic community, and she noted her goal for the series is to give as little direction as possible to her clients in order for them to show up authentically in their photos.

“The homes seem to naturally fit with the project – they give you a sense of (the people inside) and it feels very collaborative.”

During a session, Kilborn talks with her clients on the phone and draws ideas of what her clients want to do. Some of her images include individuals wearing a gas mask on the front porch while reading a paper; a family gazing out through the reflection of their mini blinds and a family having a beverage while sitting on fold-up chairs on their roof.

“The home naturally creates authenticity. I see them as being a part of their story – it’s not in the same way as you choose your clothes – it’s less direct – but it’s definitely part of the story, and the reflections of the trees reflect the Vancouver Island environment.”

Kilborn estimated she has more than 40 portrait sessions and does sessions throughout the Comox Valley. Upon completion of the project, she hopes to create either a book or art show to display all of the pieces.

“A big part of this for me is that we are isolated – we’re not allowed to really see anyone – and I’m going around collecting people’s faces and there’s a lot of joy that I see. There’s so many people coming together in this time of being separated.”

To see more of Kilborn’s photography and her isolation portrait series, visit www.joslynkilborn.com.


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