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PANDEMIC PORTRAITS

LIFE BEHIND THE MASK - BY COLIN MULVANY

Is this the new normal? Having to mask and glove up before leaving the safety of our homes? Protecting ourselves from an unseen virus that can be present anywhere there are other people gathered? The grocery store. The hardware store, The fabric store. These places, full of essential workers, are where I found my subjects. Customers, outside, in line, practicing social distancing as they waited for their cue to enter.

Masks traditionally hide the face, but for this portrait series, I found humanity behind the mask. Each obscured face, each set of eyes, tells a different story. Whether it be anxiety about their jobs, school, childcare, or elderly parents. Or for some, I found purpose in their eyes, having fully embraced the upheaval of their lives, knowing this pandemic, like other challenges in life, too shall pass.

Wearing her mask, Jill Andrus made a quick stop at Trader Joe’s in Lincoln Heights to pick up some flowers for a family friend’s birthday. “It’s (the coronavirus pandemic) created a lot of time for family that I did not expect,” Andrus said. “It’s nice to see my parents more than I usually do and to make sure they are being taken care of.” (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
LaVaine Tate: “I’m just taking it easy one day at a time. Staying out of the way and using these masks. Hopefully (the pandemic) will end soon. It has been a long 30 days cooped up in the house, but it brings everyone together – focusing on what is important.” (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Julie Western: “It has been a stressful day today, but it has also forced us to be more connected through Zoom, text and phone.” (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Veronica Mshar: “It has been kind of surreal. I wouldn’t believe I would be sewing masks. I hate sewing.” (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Peyton Montgomery, 11: “It’s been pretty scary, considering I have asthma. It’s nice that I have a mother who can make these masks so we can stay safe.” (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Dave Mowry, a cardiac ICU nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, says outside of work he has been feeling stir-crazy, but at work there is care that needs to be given. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Erin Walsh, with daughters Lauren, 9, and Grace, 12, made a quick trip to Trader Joe’s on Tuesday. “We are spending a lot of outside time while it is nice,” Walsh said. “The teachers have been great keeping up with schoolwork, and the girls use Zoom to keep up with friends and classmates.” (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Pam Magana is a small-business owner. “I do in-home day care. All of my parents are teachers, so I haven’t had any kids in my day care,” Magana said. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Niesje Maccini: “We’ve been faring OK. I’ve got a 2-year-old at home and one on the way, due in August. I’m hoping this will be somewhat over by then. We’ve been doing a lot of painting projects around the house and my 2-year-old keeps me on my toes.” (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Nizhoni Hodge has been making masks for family and friends, and ventured out to buy fabric after a shipment of elastic bands arrived at home. “My tribe is the Navajo Nation and they are experiencing high rates of coronavirus and death,” Hodge said. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
“I’m isolating while furloughed from work,” Dave Finney said. He’s been doing projects around the house and was masked up while visiting Ace Hardware on South Regal Street to buy some parts for a sink he is installing in his garage. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Olivia Zucker, age 14: “I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking to fill my time. I have also been going out in nature, taking walks and eating breakfast outside. I have been trying to enjoy my time alone.” (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Terri and Jon Zucker: “I (Terri) am a cancer patient and we have to be very careful. We are taking a lot of precautions. Everything is wiped down repeatedly.” (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Matthew Sherlaw is a medical student at University of Washington School of Medicine and has been studying and staying home during Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. When he goes out he wears the Skida mask he bought from a small business in Vermont. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Wearing a self-made face mask, Tiana Tate lines up outside Joann Fabrics to buy material to make more masks. “After I do my regular job all day, I’ve been making masks and trying to help the community protect themselves while protecting others,” Tate said. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Chloe Spedden: “I’m a student at Washington State and the transition to online classes is definitely harder than I thought it would be. The lack of face-to-face interaction makes it a lot harder to ask questions. In class you can just raise your hand to get an answer, but over email, there is a gap that can take several hours to get my questions answered.” Spedden is an education major. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
“I’m adjusting” to the new normal of being an essential worker, said Galen Seiler, a paint department manager at Ace Hardware on South Regal Street. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Cassie Russell: “I’m a teacher, so not being able to be around my students is difficult, but whatever it takes to keep them safe is all that I care about.” Russell is an eighth-grade student teacher at Cheney Middle School. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Sheri Poulson stands in a line outside Joann Fabrics in Lincoln Heights to buy a sewing machine after hers broke down after making masks. “I have a brother-in-law who works with the public and would like a few masks to feel better,” Poulson said. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)