View Point is a collaborative art project created by Thomas Lohr and Olu Odukoya, documenting the weeks between March 16 th and May 11 th 2020 during the time of the Covid-19 lockdown. Comprised of photographs of the the view from Lohr’s apartment in Paris, its intention is to highlight the uncomfortable banality of the “new normal” in our major cities; shooting with an iPhone, the photographer began to recognise familiar faces in the street, his birds-eye view allowing him to watch an entirely different way of life unfolding as citizens became more used to the strictures of the lockdown, and of social distancing. “Seeing the same people nearly every day, and understanding their behaviour and their patterns,” Lohr explains, “makes you feel connected to them. It’s a way to overcome loneliness. As time passed, I could see the changing of the seasons, and watch the arrival of spring.”
The resulting book uses graphic design, repetition and negative space to suggest a day-to-day existence that is at once ordinary and extraordinary. The phrases and symbology applied to many of the images are partially inspired by the “dot” works of the late conceptual artist John Baldessari, who frequently layered coloured dots over the faces of found images, flattening subjects into anonymous types rather than individuals, and commenting on the art industry itself. Arrows plot out the trajectory of joggers, or mark out the sometimes-inadequate distance between strangers on the street, making what would otherwise be innocuous images of daily life into potential sites of terror and infection. Face-masks, one of the main visual signifiers of the crisis, appear frequently, making these already-anonymous pedestrians even more unidentifiable; joggers, making use of their government-allocated exercise allowance, appear and then reappear as if functioning on a loop. View Point is an artistic document of a historic, chilling moment, both hypnotic in its breadth and comforting in its portrayal of continued city life.