Barbara Perlick’s inspiration to take photos of COVID-19’s effects began on a walk through her West University Place neighborhood a little more than two weeks ago.

“I was walking around my neighborhood and saw just how creative the children were being, writing in chalk and seeing the messages they were writing down,” Perlick said.

Perlick is a professional photographer who started her own photography business—Barbara Perlick Photography—three years ago, in order to tell stories.

She said she took that motivation and applied it to the photos she began taking of the impact of COVID-19 in not only her neighborhood in West University Place, but also the city of Houston proper, including downtown, the Galleria, University of Houston, and William P. Hobby Airport.

In West University Place, Perlick said the feelings she took away from the scenes was a mix of eeriness, sadness, interspersed with flashes of ingenuity and happiness.

“It's known as being a family place,” Perlick said. “But the baseball fields are closed, and the benches are closed off with tape.”

Photos of her neighborhood city include signs of the closures, and beyond that, in Houston, empty parking lots, people wearing masks, and more.

The variety of subjects reflects Perlick’s photography, which can cover street photography and nature to people and personal stories.

Perlick said she began taking the COVID-19 photos in the middle of the day by hopping in her car, and heading out to locations with a desire to show the emptiness of places that are normally busy.

“It gave me a feeling of overwhelming sadness, but I think people weren’t seeing the reality of the situation, because people didn’t have any reason to visit those places,” Perlick said.

One particular highlight came from an attendant from Hobby Airport sitting at a Smarte Carte luggage cart station, waiting for someone to give him something to do.