A Photographer’s Hilarious Photos of Being Stuck in Quarantine with Ex-Wife and Mother

by Phil Mistry

Neil Kramer has spent close to a year quarantining with his ex-wife and mother in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom Queens, New York City rent-controlled compact apartment. This has produced a sitcom of chaotically humorous photographs that are actually based on real-life situations that have occurred while they are holed up.

His mother usually spends winters in Boca Raton, Florida, but when her plans fell through, she asked her son if she could stay with him for the winter. At the same time, his ex-wife, who was in California, had a roof leak that destroyed her apartment, and she asked if she could come and live with him temporarily.

Day 12 – Mar 24. Tensions are already rising.

“At first, she was just staying here a few weeks,” Kramer, an event/street photographer and TV writer, tells PetaPixel. “Then the pandemic hit and realized that she was too scared to be alone and looking for an apartment in LA, so basically stayed here… we didn’t realize it would end up being a year.”

Day 18 – Mar 30. Unexpected Family Closeness. We all were looking terrible, so we decided to help each other look presentable in case we have to FaceTime with someone.

Mother Elaine took the master bedroom, and the ex-wife, Sophia Lansky, the other bedroom. Kramer was relegated to the lumpy couch in the living room. This living situation soon became stressful. His kooky coronavirus pod was not working, and Kramer considered family therapy.

But instead, Kramer decided to use phototherapy! They would recreate a stressful situation that had occurred in the recent past and do a complete photoshoot with mother and his ex-wife, Sophia, a Hebrew and Russian language translator and actress. Maybe he figured that if they rethought it, they could resolve it.

Day 22 – Apr 3. The family that self-medicates together, stays together.
Day 46 – Apr 27. Sophia and my mother have always had a very good relationship, with few mother-in-law/daughter-in-law conflicts. Their good relationship continued even after our divorce. But the last forty-odd days have put a slight strain on their relationship. This shift has caused some tension, and like all men who find themselves caught between two women, the only solution is to hide in the bathroom.

I actually started the project more documentary style, but it just didn’t work. I realized that a photographer has to be somewhat an observer, and when we are scrubbing groceries, no one wants the photographer just standing there taking photos. It’s like that perennial case of the photojournalist who captures the guy dying on the street but doesn’t help. So was pushed to use my more film school approach of restaging stuff.

Day 55 – May 5. Need a haircut? The Quarantine Salon is now open. By appointment only.
Day 61 – May 11. “We need to exercise,” I said. We need to move around. We need to dance for our mental health.” I put a disco radio station on Pandora. “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night Fever was on.

How did his ex-wife even agree to these crazy photo sessions?

“Well, she knows me as a slightly crazy artsy type, so it wasn’t surprising,” the photographer says. “But she figured it was just going to be seen by a few friends on Facebook.”

And then it went viral on the web.

Day 70 – May 20. We told my mother that if she goes out by herself, she has to wear a mask, gloves, and goggles to protect her eyes. “Why don’t you just wrap me in the shower curtain?” my mother asked, sarcastically.
Day 85 – Jun 7. Mother was depressed at not being able to go to the Blue Bay Diner because of her high-risk status. So, Sophia decided to create a diner on our balcony!

Kramer has a Sony Alpha a6400 with a Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSSSony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS, and a Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens with a Godox Speedlight and a Neewer softbox. He started with the Sony Alpha a5100 and then the Sony Alpha a6000.

“To be honest, once I bought a few lenses, I got too cheap to upgrade,” Kramer says. “If I can do more work, I will immediately get a newer full-frame Sony.”…


A Photographer’s Hilarious Photos of Being Stuck in Quarantine with Ex-Wife and Mother

F. Kaskais Web Guru

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