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Their faces fill the frame. Their masks at once uniform and individually unique. The expression in their eyes, a mirror of the soul, speaks to the adaptation to unimaginable circumstances. When the second wave struck in the fall of 2020, after the relative freedom and normality of the summer’s temperate days, Montreal-based Iranian photographer Kamal decided to document what seemed to him missing from the photographic record of these strange times. “Normal people”. Photos of Hospitals and ICU wards and line-ups for testing were as ubiquitous as the daily case count, and often as opaque. While only a small proportion of the population has been hit by the disease itself, everyone has been significantly affected. And these people on their way to the store to purchase groceries, or out for a walk, whose lives have been disrupted in a thousand different ways, what was going on behind their masks? The sharp focus on the eyes, the individuality of the conforming masks, the demeanour of the subjects, all ready and open to this unplanned encounter with the artist, a stranger on a corner with a Hasselblad, make of each portrait a work of art by its own merits. Chosen from over 150 portraits taken of volunteer pedestrians on Mont-Royal Avenue in Montreal between November 2020 and Fabray 2021, Indeterminate Encounter documents these historic times and the people who lived through them.

© Kamal / Photofade

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