Graduating at Home Header

The Project
To photograph the reality of what’s happening. This class of 2020 is graduating at home! This is part of the story of how this pandemic is affecting lives. I’m creating a photo journal - a sort of visual essay - of the faces of some of these graduates, at home.

The series of portraits, when viewed together will impact the viewer with a sense of the whole from a collection of isolated graduates. There won’t be photos of a stadium full of graduates flinging mortar boards or of graduates walking across a stage receiving a degree. What I will create will be along the lines of a LIFE magazine photographic essay.

The face can communicate so much. What will the compilation of this series of photographs reveal to us about graduating seniors, who spent the end of their senior year staying home?

Project Start Date: May 18, 2020
Project End Date: June 12, 2020

Project Overview
I will visit as many graduating seniors as I can in the time frame. I will arrive at their home, ask them a bit about what this has been like for them, and possibly record some of that with video, if they’re open to it (totally optional). I will take some still photos, aiming to capture the emotion they have about Graduating at Home. I hope to also reflect their personality and attitude.

Project Reveal: June 19, 2020
A video compilation of images will be revealed on June 19th. From that point forward, the images will be shared widely with the community through a variety of media and print or projected displays.

How to Participate

Fill out this FORM and Lori will contact you to set an appointment.  

The Concept
Imagine walking into a gallery for a photography exhibit, and walking around the room, looking at face after face of portraits of the students who are graduating at home this year. After seeing these faces, you are steeped in empathy for the perspective of this season’s graduates. You didn’t know, going in, how this was affecting them, but now you have a real sense of it.

What’s this all about?
Ever since the shelter-in-place order went into effect and schools went virtual and cancelled commencement, the class of 2020 has been on my mind and heart. I remember what my senior year was like and how important it was to me to share the experience with my classmates. I imagine this year’s seniors had similar expectations, and those expectations have been white board erased! So not fair!

At the same time, there is a celebration of the accomplishment, and the acknowledgement of how each graduating senior views the future that lies before them.

I’ve been wishing I could DO SOMETHING. How can we honor the moment, with all of it's range of affects on graduates?  My answer; with a few photographs.

 

Q&A
Q:
Are students or families being asked to pay for these photo sessions?
A:
Students and families are participating voluntarily. They are not being paid and they are not paying to take part.

Q:
Who is paying for this project?
A:
Essence Captured Photography is providing the creative aspect and the GraduatingAtHome GoFundMe Account will cover expenses related to production, print and projected media exhibits. This is a community service project.

Q:
Who will benefit from this project?
A:
I expect the community will benefit. I hope the graduates will feel seen, acknowledged, valued, and honored. A living system needs to be able to see itself, and in this current environment of forced isolation, this photo essay is a necessity. All parts of the system are essential.

Q:
Will images be available for purchase?
A:
Yes. Students and their families can purchase a digital file or print of any of their images. Proceeds from the GoFundMe campaign will allow families who are low on financial resources to purchase images.

Q:
Is there a way to donate to this project to help cover costs?
A:
Yes, you can donate through the GoFundMe page or send money with Venmo to @LoriSortino.

Q:
What are all the ways this photo series will be available for viewing?
A:
There is no known limit, as long as it is shared tastefully and respectfully. I will be open to invitations from the media and the community for exhibiting the series. We will have to sense into what is appropriate based on where people are able to go, in public, and hopefully get these up in print in public spaces. Billboards? Whatever the GoFundMe funds will allow.

Q:
Are you sharing updates on the project?
A:
Yes!  Follow my Essence Captured Facebook Page or my personal Facebook page or Instagram Account!

Q:
What is required of the participating graduates?
A:
They will be asked to sign a waiver, a standard liability release, and acknowledgement that they will not receive any compensation for the use of their likeness/image. I will maintain the copyrights to all images, and the images are created for the purpose of chronicling this historic time.

Q:
Will all of the photos you take be included in the final photo series?
A:
No. This is a great question! I don’t know as I begin the project how many images I will take. I will have to limit the images going into the final series based on the time needed to edit and curate.

Q:
How will you choose which images to include?
A:
I will aim to create an impression that will include a diverse representation of what I capture. I will follow my instincts and it will ultimately be an expression of what I see in the process of this project. It is a mystery that will reveal itself to me!

Q:
What does each participant receive?
A:
There will be an on line gallery available with a folder for each participating student. These will all be available to the graduate and they can share that image gallery with whomever they choose. Additionally each participant will receive a watermarked digital image as a thank you.

Q:
Are you accepting collaborators?
A:
Anyone interested is welcome to contact me to discuss! Please put GraduatingAtHome in the subject line.

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