Photographic portraits, captured with a Sony a7r iv mirrorless camera with a 135mm F1.8 lens, set to F2.5. ISO 100 whenever possible, and shutter speed dependent on available light. Edited in Capture One Pro.
During an exhibition of dozens of four-foot tall portrait banners of these images near Union Square, several times each week... Read More
During an exhibition of dozens of four-foot tall portrait banners of these images near Union Square, several times each week I offered to photograph anyone wearing a mask. On September 20, this woman approached as I was photographing others, patiently waited, then asked, “Me next?” “Yes. I’m AJ. May I photograph you?” She responded, “Yes. I’m Lily. I’m homeless.” More than any other subject this year, Lily gazed, unwavering, into the lens. Then she began to cry. A moment later, after photographing her, I put down the camera and said, “Thank you, Lily.” “Thank you for making me feel like a person,” Lily responded. I have 5”x7” prints with me in my backpack, and hope to see Lily again to give them to her.
Three-minute short film of the project, private and unlisted as of December 15, 2020:
On March 10, 2020, COVID-19 knocked me out. What scared me most during my illness–and 25 days of solitary quarantine–was my occluded breathing. For days it felt as if I were inhaling through a heavy, wet, woolen blanket. I recovered, grateful for my housemates’ care, and yearning to remedy the helplessness I felt while trapped inside my bedroom.
Amidst the pandemic, and our country’s long overdue reckoning with racism, I am engaged in an ongoing portrait project with over a thousand New Yorkers, all of whom have chosen to wear masks to protect one another, and who agreed to be photographed masked. Masked NYC is my effort to share the resilience, diversity, and dignity I have witnessed in my fellow New Yorkers in this exceptional moment in time.
My hope is that we will continue to strive for justice, health, and empathy toward one another moving forward–and that we may daily seek to see, respect, and celebrate one another’s radiance. Any profits from this project will be donated to the Know Your Rights Camp COVID-19 Relief Fund, founded to help address the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on our communities of color.