Capturing Copeisolation on Rakiura/Stewart Island

Originally from Estonia, Laire Purik is documenting the life of the residents of Rakiura “through windows, through the gates” as they cope with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The BBC reports on her “Copeisolation” project with a video entitled, “Coronavirus: Capturing isolation on New Zealand’s Stewart Island”.

Tourism and fishing are the main industries on the island, where there is only one shop, a pub and a lone police officer.

“My project mainly involved going and visiting people from a really far distance,” Purik explains in the video, “and asking [them] basically how are they coping. It was kind of nice to see locals smiling because I started connecting with people more, so it’s definitely helped me to understand more how people are living here.”

Purik now wants to make a book from her photos.

“I didn’t realise actually what I had done so I am pleased that I captured this moment, that history. And I think it was a really good project for the island also, so people remember, because I really hope we don’t have to go through that again.”

Images from the project can be viewed on the Lairka photography Facebook page.

Video by Isabelle Rodd, BBC, May 17, 2020.


Tags: BBC  COVID-19  Laire Purik  Photography  Rakiura/Stewart Island