One New York City photographer's quarantine pod gives new meaning to the term "three's company."
Neil Kramer, a photographer and TV writer, has spent the last nine months holed up at home in Queens, New York, with an unlikely pair of companions — his ex-wife, Sophia Lansky, and his 86-year-old mother, Elaine — and he's documented the awkward experience for the world to see.
The trio didn't intend to spend the better part of a year sharing a compact two-bedroom apartment, but then again, 2020 hasn't exactly panned out the way any of us had planned. So when Kramer ended up in close quarters with the two women, he decided to make the most of it and do what he does best: tell a story through photos.
So, how did this trio end up together? Right before the pandemic hit, Kramer was living in his childhood home. 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.
Lansky, who typically lives in Los Angeles, had just moved into a new place when the roof collapsed and flooded most of her belongings. She asked Kramer if she could stay with him to "decompress for a couple of weeks." Then the pandemic arrived and the trio's temporary living arrangement turned into a months-long lockdown.
"A couple of weeks is what it was supposed to be, and we're now here almost 10 months together," Kramer said during an appearance on Friday's 3rd hour of TODAY.
"I thought 'A couple of weeks, what else can go wrong in 2020?'" Lansky joked.
Kramer, who typically takes event and street photos, had to pivot his career during quarantine and decided he might as well take photos at home.
"I was here taking pictures of the two women I know the best in the world," he said. "Let me tell you, taking photos of your family is much harder than taking a stranger's. But we sort of used it as therapy. Events would happen in real life, sometimes even scary ones, and we would recreate it and stage it the next day."
The trio has spent the majority of their time at home this year and hasn't really seen other friends or family since they were concerned about Elaine catching the virus. All that quality time together has the potential to be disastrous, but the three have tried to approach their situation with humor.
"Strangely, it's actually enhanced (our relationships)," Kramer said. "We've been stuck together a long time. Basically, you have to learn to adjust and me and my mother were able to watch (R-rated) TV shows together and treat each other as adults."
As for Kramer and Lansky, well, the exes have certainly had a few fights during quarantine. But they've found a silver lining in their arrangement.
"If it ever got bad and one of us is about to say, 'I want a divorce,' then we realize we're divorced already," he said.
Al Roker chimed in and couldn't help but wonder: Do the exes have plans to get back together?
Kramer clammed up at the question and Lansky turned to him and slightly shook her head. Then Kramer said, "No plans for the moment."
Elaine has enjoyed having company during the pandemic and approves of her son's photo project.
"The pictures made it interesting and we got involved with each other and then realized that other people liked these pictures, so that made us more happy," she said.
When his mother said she missed going to her favorite diner every Sunday, Kramer decided to create a makeshift diner on the terrace and captured the comedic moment on camera.
Now that several coronavirus vaccines are getting approved, the trio realizes that their living arrangement might shift in the next few months.
"We actually this morning argued over who's gonna get the vaccine first," Kramer said. "We're assuming it's gonna be (Mom) and she'll have to make the decisions over whether she wants to cut out first."
In the meantime, we're all enjoying watching their entertaining antics on Instagram.