Have you ever wondered what the person on the other end of a zoom call looks like outside of what the camera shows? In this article, take a look at the heartwarming work and message behind Tallahassee based commercial photographers, The Workmans, and their hilarious new series, #COVIDwear: Business on Top, Quarantine on the Bottom.
Before I dive into the message and process that it took to bring this project to life, I’ll start by making a brief introduction about The Workmans. Alex and Chelsea Workman, a husband and wife team who are located in Tallahassee, Florida, back in 2016 started their own media company that aims to help local businesses and organizations tell their stories. When asked to describe the kind of work they do, they explained that:
Through our photography, we want to be able to cultivate relationships, and be family oriented. We use our photography to connect with the community and learn more about the place we live in.
Their sentiment holds so much power and truth behind why photography is so powerful. As photographers, we have the ability to change not only our worlds but also positively affect the lives of those around us.
The one thing that stuck out to me about this project was the heartwarming, comedic, and fun message behind it. The Workmans wanted to be able to poke fun at the current situation, but to not forget the severity of the COVID-19 virus and honor the men and women who are on the front lines. At the end of the day, Alex adds:
Our ultimate goal for this project is to put a smile on people’s face.
When an idea comes to us, our first instinct is to research the internet and see if that idea has already been done. In this case, it hadn’t. So they went for it and haven’t looked back since. Currently, they have taken over 17,000 images and photographed closed to 200 people in their community.
When asked to recall how the #COVIDwear project all started, they told me that:
Through this pandemic, we were talking to creative friends who are struggling with isolation and depression, and after many tough conversations, it made us realize that we’re all in this same boat together.
As I followed the project through the #COVIDwear Instagram page, I found that their optimistic outlook on the situation made me appreciate that even though the world might be a dark place right now, we can all take a moment out of our day to smile and connect with each other.
With any project you start, it will inherently require a logistical road map, especially when you’re doing it during a pandemic. When planning out the project, they kept in mind the local mandates, and designed a safe and socially distant shooting process. To keep the process as streamlined as possible, they set up sessions in 30 minute time slots, which gave optimal time to wipe down and sanitize the space. Each day they would shoot, it would be on one of three savage backdrops: Flamingo, Turquoise, and Teal. By photographing the participants on a different backdrop each day, it gave them a cohesive final series.
Listed below is a gear breakdown of all the equipment they used to make their vision a reality.
Camera: Canon EOS R
Lens: Canon RF 28-70 F2L
Light Modifiers: Profoto RFi Softbox 5″ Octa
Stands: Neewer C-Stands
While the equipment you chose to shoot with is important, they were able to see the bigger picture. They want people to know that:
It’s not exactly about a beautiful picture, it’s about cultivating community and a message. We want to set out to make the most diverse project to date, to create inclusive community conversations and use imagery to unite.
When you decide to take on your next personal project, and you think about what you want this project to say, when the final images are delivered, the story doesn’t end there. The impression that the project makes on you can have a long lasting effect. To wrap up this article, I asked them to reflect on how this project has impacted them. They told me that:
So much of what we do as photographers and filmmakers is reliant on being around other people, and through this project, we have been able to meet incredible people and build friendships and relationships with people in our community. It’s been so heartwarming to see the support behind this project and how it’s resonating with so many people all around the world.
If this project made you smile, head on over to their website, https://covidwear.co for more information, or follow the project on Instagram.
How has quarantine affected you as a photographer? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments below!
All images used with permission of The Workmans