When the portraiture project I had been working on was abruptly suspended by the stay-at-home COVID- 19 measures, I began making portraits of essential workers. As a street and portrait photographer, I was comfortable approaching workers doing essential jobs and asking for their permission to make their portrait. I always stood at least six feet from the person. For the most part, I found that though they were busy working, they gave me the time, albeit brief, and wereappreciative of my attention and my gratitude for their frontline work. In many cases, they would ask how I’d like them to stand. They would take direction as though in a portrait studio. In very brief and physically distanced encounters, we would collaborate with each other in the making of the photograph.
Bus driver in Harvard Square waiting to start her route, before the mask requirement. From Essential Workers Portrait series.