One thing is clear. COVID-19 will change America. We’re too close to it to see it now, but everyone knows it’s coming. There’s a lot to talk about: politics, economics, culture, et cetera.
One thing we know now. Masks proliferate on streets where we once gave the side-eye to anyone silly enough to cover a face in public. Over the last three weeks, I have taken street portraits of people who happen to walk by me. Here’s what I’ve learned.
The City In Their Faces
Chicago isn’t just politics, policy, or economics. We can see our city and our communities in the faces of people who live and work there.
It’s All In The Eyes
The face shows emotion, even when we don’t want it to. A flash of a smile. A frozen look. I used to think about the smile, the frown, or the pursed lips, but I can now see that our eyes are just as important. Even with half our faces covered, you can still see the smile beneath the mask.
Chicagoans Will Talk To A Stranger
City denizens are well known for ignoring the world as they speed walk down busy, or not-so-busy, streets. The people of Chicago didn’t fit the stereotype. Nearly everyone stopped long enough for me to ask permission for their portraits, and most were happy to give me a few seconds for a photo.
Masks Are More Than Protection
While many people wore the standard blue medical mask, more and more walk, run, or bike with fashionable cloth masks in a variety of patterns and shapes.
Work Gets Done
Work is still getting done across the city, whether in hospitals or outdoors. Several people paused their work for a moment to preserve their look.