Stephanie Ewens’ Documentary Portrait Project Highlights Essential Workers
#SeeOurFrontliners features those working during the COVID-19 crisis and their experiences.
Rhode Island photographer Stephanie Ewens recently began a documentary portrait project called #SeeOurFrontliners which highlights COVID-19’s frontline and essential workers. The idea came to her after working on a national initiative called “The Front Steps Project.”
“Much of my day-to-day work went away when the pandemic hit, so I wanted to find a way to continue taking portraits and document the often invisible yet essential people that are keeping our communities going,” says Ewens.
Ewens started the project by reaching out to close friends who introduced her to several frontline workers. She began taking pictures of people at their homes and learned through conversation about these individuals’ experiences during the pandemic. Ewens asked them to write what they were experiencing so she could share their words alongside her images. So far, Ewens has photographed thirty-three individuals who work in healthcare, transportation, education, food delivery, behavioral health and postal delivery. Her portraits, which have been shared on social media, are gaining attention and have received over 200,000 views since they were first posted. She is continuing to look for more companies and organizations that work with essential personnel so these heroes can be highlighted.
“One of the best parts of this project has been the outpouring of love and support for these workers on social media from people that view and comment on the posts. An extra bonus is getting to meet and photograph and learn more about each individual. The hardest part is not being able to hug them when I leave. It really fills up my heart to do this work,” says Ewens.
Ewens’ project is ongoing and essential workers who are interested in being a part of her project are able to schedule an appointment on her website stephanieewens.com/frontliners.