Jenn Ackermann und Tim Gruber denken, dass die Trageweite der Pandemie den Menschen erst durch die Fotografie tatsächlich bewusst geworden ist. In ihrem fotografischen Alltag freuen sie sich mittlerweile darüber, dass ihre Assignments immer weniger von Covid-19 beeinflusst werden. Woran sie gearbeitet haben und was sie sich fotografisch wünschen, darüber haben sie mit den #FacesOfPhotography gesprochen:
Jenn and Tim, how are you?
All things considered, we’re doing much better over here since last spring when COVID first hit and we didn’t know much about the virus. We are both vaccinated now so it feels like a huge burden was lifted off our shoulders.
What is the current situation in the USA?
I feel like we’re all seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccine has brought a lot of hope and the COVID numbers continue to fall daily so hopefully, that’s a trend that continues. Hopefully before long there will be a sense of normalcy waiting for us if we can just hold tight for a little bit longer.
How do you see the role of photography in these times?
Obviously, as photographers, we’re a bit biased but we feel like photos have helped take us into the severity of this pandemic. While facts, data, and the written word hold great value there’s an emotional impact a photo or photo series can have that words and numbers will never be able to rival. Hopefully, this will be the last global pandemic we all experience in our lifetimes. Whether it’s photos of being in lockdown with your family or out documenting a COVID-19 testing site all the photos in the years and decades to come will be of great historical value.
Has the pandemic (and all the other big issues in the US) changed photography?
We think it’s safe to say 2020 was a very trying year for everyone. Before COVID-19 we never gave much thought to our normal everyday interactions with people. While we cherished being able to go out and spend time with the people we photographed we never imagined that for over a year that simple interaction would be completely changed. On top of that we live in Minneapolis and only five blocks from where George Floyd was killed so it feels like we all have on an emotional rollercoaster for the past year.
What have you personally experienced job-wise in the last weeks and months?
For the past year, a lot of work has had a heavy COVID factor to everything we were photographing. Meaning most of the stories or projects we were working on were about something dealing with COVID or closely tied to it. In the last few weeks, we have gotten a few assignments that have had nothing to do with COVID which has been so refreshing. We are looking forward to the day where we can photograph people inside their spaces again rather than outside their front door.
Did you have time and leisure to work on free topics?
Shortly after the pandemic hit and after our lockdown we started a personal project looking at our food supply chain here in the States. That led to a magazine commission so that was great luck, but that rarely happens. Otherwise, thankfully we’ve been able to stay busy enough with commissioned work that we didn’t have as much free time as we originally thought to work on the project. But like all our personal projects we’ll probably keep working on it for years until we feel like we have completely exhausted the topic. For our personal well being we have also made a point of getting outside more often this past year which is something we plan to continue even when the pandemic is over.
What is your personal photographic wish for the future?
We’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to do what we love for years and through this pandemic. While it’s a pretty simple goal our hope is to continue doing what we love. We have that same passion for photography that we did when we first picked up a camera which is mainly thanks to amazing clients sending us out to do our thing. So between commissioned work and personal projects, the hope is to simply keep creating work and meeting fascinating people along the way.
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