The Pause Button: A (Dis)Connection Story

This is a screenshot of an instagram post made by Quentin, a photo essay reflection on the end of the semester amidst COVID-19

The Pause Button by Quentin Stuckey 📷

The quality of the photos kept increasing year by year. It was as if I had to document my moments at Ryerson University and post them, to prove to myself that it was actually happening. First year-there was one photo that stood out to me. Second year-two. Third year-three. Fourth year-four. More and more photos kept being taken in groups as those years went on. At a birthday dinner, in the hallway before an exam or even in the middle of the Yonge and Dundas intersection. We had our gatherings, our festivities, our moments of vulnerability while my fingers itched to snap a picture of the evening. I told my friend Adnan once that I thought of personal photography like hitting a PAUSE button on a crucial moment. From 2016-2020, the university never seemed to slow down. We never took intentional breaks from each other, except in between semesters. Now, beyond our intentions, beyond our hopes, beyond our goals has come a battle we must fight and win for the collective well being of our society. People are snapping gloomy, empty streets of Toronto, seeing no human companions or bustling activity. The only moments I ever wanted to capture in this city were the moments with my friends. The people I love: that’s the city I miss. That’s the community I pine for. And now, my fourth year photo album will feature less group shots when I look back on it. A clear sign of what was happening. What is happening now. I can’t wait to hit the PLAY button again and get the chance to look back on this pandemic. But I won’t find nearly as many photos of my dear, distant friends.

See Quentin’s visual poem at @stucks97 on Instagram and share your own (Dis)Connection story today!