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13th April 2020
Journey of a lockdown birthday
Title of film: Touchless Birthday; 7.55am, Richard
Director: Saam Gabbay
Production Company: bGiant
Iranian-born, LA-based director and photographer Saam Gabbay loves a good party and this year he had planned a great gathering of near and dear friends and family to celebrate his birthday. But then the coronavirus hit and LA along with most of the world went into lockdown. Instead of his planned get-together he drove to their houses capturing his loved ones looking through their windows in a poignant film and portrait project which beautifully and profoundly reflects a community in self-isolation.

Saam Gabby taken from Debbie’s POV


“This project unfolded because my birthday was in the middle of the ongoing coronavirus quarantine, so I went out to see my friends at theirs,” says Saam.

“Not that I could go near them, of course. Instead, I went to each one’s home and photographed them from outside, looking in. I scheduled a time for each and asked that they stand at their window while I stood in their yards, or on their sidewalk, or across the street. If they lived in a high rise, I flew my drone to their window.

“What I captured was a peek at the life so many of us are currently living. An experience that is both personal and communal. Though we were physically separated by many meters and a pane of glass, the result is intimate. I find that since the lockdown I’ve been in a state of heightened gratitude, so deeply thankful for my friends, my family, my life. I hope I created a record of this moment to show that in this great global moment of shared vulnerability there is beauty and connection.”


7.15pm, West Hollywood – looking west at Santa Monica


Saam Gabbay website

Instagram: @saamgabbay