I have been a professional photographer for over two decades. My photojournalism has been published across the country and in Europe. None of those images have meant as much as the one included in this story in Saratogian about the impacts school closures are having on students. I never thought I would publish a news image with my daughter as the subject. For me, it’s an image that has come to represent everything about COVID-19. Of the millions of exposures I’ve captured, I’ll never forget this one. It’s of a kid who cares deeply about school, her teachers, and her friends packing up her locker, which is now a time capsule of the world before. That was a world of basketball games, art projects, and school dances. It was a time before masks and gloves, charts tracking infection rates, and daily task force briefings. It was a world before we all lived in boxes in Zoom meetings and interacted in six-foot spheres.
As parents, we reinforce that caring in our children. What we don’t prepare them for something like COVID-19 that puts all those things we tell our kids to care about in a state of limbo. Not just one project, or event, or game. ALL of them. There is no reference guide to prepare them for things left unfinished. When I snapped this photo, there were so many uncertainties. There still are. We have learned so much since then, but we’ve lost much more.
I do hope they get to open their time capsules this school year.