The photographer capturing people naked on their couch
Tel Aviv-based Dana Kasap figured the comfy piece of furniture would be the ideal place to document people in lockdown.
All photography Dana Kasap
Like anyone who lost jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, 26-year-old Israel-based photographer Dana Kasap saw her schedule diminishing as soon as the disease hit her home country. With not much she could do about it, Dana was ready to succumb to life spent on the sofa watching Netflix. Turning to shooting still life wasn't an option. Prior to the pandemic, she was always on the go, visiting and shooting people in their homes. Tel Aviv -- usually a lively city buzzing with tourists -- had become a ghost town.
"Despite how cliché it might sound, I believe you can find inspiration in almost everything," Dana says. "It's a theory that has proven true over the years. For me, it's the beauty and subtleties you find everywhere. Whether it's wrinkles on an old lady’s face, a toothless smile, a redhead freckled kid, or even a super-hairy, speedo wearing guy at the beach. I usually find myself most inspired when I hit rock bottom."
It was then that Dana came up with the idea to photograph people one-on-one, from a safe distance, on their couch -- naked. "Our homes are the most intimate places for us, the places where we shed our outer masks -- quite literally, these days," she says. "As someone who had initially planned to be stuck to her couch [during] isolation, it seemed like a good place to start. The type of nudity she was looking for had to be quiet and intimate, rather than full-frontal or provocative. "The only guidance I gave the subjects was to lie stomach down on the couch in whatever way they felt most comfortable," she explains. "For some it meant legs in the air, for others, hands close to the body; many looked into the lens while others didn’t make eye contact. The very fact that I asked people to undress in front of me created an intimate space between us, which influenced me from photo to photo, from house to house."
Initially, she had no idea who would agree to this format, so she started off shooting people she knew -- close friends who would immediately say yes, no questions asked. But then, after putting the word on social media, numerous messages started pouring in of people wanting to participate. "From then on, I guess it kind of snowballed," Dana says. "People I photographed told other people, and those people contacted me. I knew I wanted to branch out to all sorts of different body types, ages and sizes. These were more difficult to find, but not impossible. Eventually even people in their 60s and older warmed up to the idea."
The result is a candid documentary project, providing a charming glimpse into the lives of people who might be separated by distance, but are experiencing exactly the same thing as you: long, languid days spent indoors. "So far I have photographed over 80 people and I intend to continue shooting as long as we are in lockdown,” she says. “The stories I’ve heard and the many words I exchanged with these people during this project will remain with me long afterwards."
Photography Dana Kasap