04.27.21 Press

Making Your Own Fun: Sheida Soleimani’s Commission for the New York Times

Fun can take many forms. An end-of-day ice cream ritual. Caring for rescued chickens. A bubble bath for an inanimate friend. Three photographers show us what a good time means to them now.

Jolie Ruben and 

Sheida Soleimani, a Providence, R.I., photographer, says she began doing “tedious but beautiful work, like picking dandelions from the ground, separating the petals from the calyx and putting them in an airlock-sealed jar with yeast to ferment.” She also began caring for rescued chickens: “Rehabbing birds definitely was a coping mechanism, but also a way to nurture and heal things during a time where everything has felt completely unhealable.”

Chaee with my Baba over FaceTime with my two chickens, Nem (bottom) and Nox (top), the latter who came to me paralyzed and had to be rehabbed in a hammock. In the background, health officials fumigate a mosque in Iran to cleanse it of coronavirus.

Soleimani started taking these photographs “to document these forays and efforts to explore whatever we were doing one week or another.”

A swan side eyes the camera, looking past a waterproofing chart and the veterinary tape used to wrap his infected feet; a glass of wine on a Friday night to celebrate his imminent release
Images of food waste after the first lockdown punctuate the background, juxtaposed against toilet paper, paper towels, food we learned how to preserve and the eggs from our chickens. In the very front, a broiler chicken is unable to stand, after having fallen off a poultry truck en route to slaughterhouse.
A rehabber’s tools of the trade on hand for new arrivals: a House Finch with torticollis arrives one Sunday evening, then a Blue Jay in an Air Jordan’s box, dead on arrival

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