Masked Expectations

I'm surrounded by empty seats yet am being bombarded with sound. This situation I've been put in is an unusual one since you just expect, well, more. I expected teachers. I expected students. I expected fresh air. The mask I wear, double-layered out of fear, and yet I can still feel the pressure in the air around me.

Through  this project I really wanted to express the closed-off nature of doing in-person learning during the pandemic. I photographed these moments with dim lighting and a dizzying uncentered-ness to show how uncertain it felt the entire time. Going into this pandemic as a freshman, I wanted to feel like I was going into “real” school so I immediately signed up for in-person learning, expecting all my teachers to be there as well. That wasn’t what I got, exactly. I had one in-person teacher and the rest of my 5 classes were all to be had in the auditorium on my tablet. Quite disappointing, if you ask me. But you know what they say, always gotta make the best of a situation!

Making friends helped it feel real, being 6 entire auditorium seats apart did not.

Going inside the school helped it feel real, doing my classes on a tablet did not.

Facing drama in school helped it feel real, the drama being unable to go to school for 2 weeks when a classmate got COVID made it feel too real.

These experiences didn't make it not real, they just made it different. I think different is what’s needed.

There are so many empty classrooms now. I wonder which teacher had this one.

(Dim empty classroom in the High School of Fashion Industries.)

Those exit doors always have paper on them, and I have no clue why. Maybe they wanted masks, too.

(Exit door in the auditorium.)

1st period.

(Bracelets on my wrist.)

“It was really strange to me because I just thought we were just gonna have the whole year off...I was expecting more specific instructions, none of us really knew what to do...“God prevents it spreads even faster in the school.” - Jesus Aspiroz

(My friend Jesus Aspiroz.)

Should these halls be filled?

(Exit doors in an empty hallway.)

Uh-oh! Cooties.

(My two friends Max and Kris.)

Making the best out of scary moments.

(My two friends Jill and Jesus.)

3rd period.

(My bag and an empty staircase landing.)

Dramatic times call for dramatic measures.

(Naima-Jean Louise)

“I expected I guess more time to adjust to this completely different way of learning, but I’m glad I’ve gotten used to it and have a really great group of friends.” - Kris García

(Kris and her phone case.)

Quick--guess their combination.

(A lone locker.)

5th period.

(Caution tape adorning chairs we are not allowed to sit on.)

“You just have everything you need to do in one computer in one space, I thought there would be more people and like real classes.” - Naima-Jean Louise

Oh gentle crane, where is your mask?

(Paper crane in art class.)

Expectations aren’t my strong suit, especially after this year. I might as well dive in head first.

So, what's next?

(Self-portrait in the auditorium.)

Using Format