By Wendi Rank
Hannah Beier, 23, was quarantined in Fort Washington when she took the photograph. Her website indicates she is a double major in Photography and Design and Merchandising at Drexel University.
The Time magazine cover is her first publication.
The photograph depicts a deflated pandemic graduation gathering of just two millennials. The Inquirer explains the photo, and several others taken by Hannah and appearing in Time, was born from Hannah’s senior-year thesis.
That thesis began as photography of significant connections in her life, in the sun-lit, pre-pandemic world. As the pandemic unfolded, her thesis evolved into images of youth in the age of coronavirus, denied graduation ceremonies, birthdays, and spring days.
Hannah shot the photographs through a complex system that involved FaceTime, smart phones, computers, cameras – and Hannah herself, directing from afar.
Quarantine prevented Hannah from taking the photos in person. She told the Inquirer whether the technique took “two seconds or two hours….These photos are exactly how I would take them.”
The Time article, by Charlotte Alter, reflects on the damage – both immediate and long-term – inflicted upon a generation whose academic careers began with 9/11 and ended with an unprecedented pandemic.
Many 2020 college graduates, Time reports, are ineligible for unemployment or stimulus funds. Few graduates have nest eggs to fall back on as they search for employment. They are quarantined with fledgling lovers – or living with parents as though high school commencement never happened.
Time goes on to report the negative effects may not be short-term.
Historically and globally, the impact of a lifetime of perceived government failure, curbed opportunity, and economic collapse has colored voting records and employment, child-rearing, and overall performance. The impact of the generation is at risk.
Hannah’s photographs reflect the disruption of that generation. She worked with Time through mid-May, after her professor sent her photos to the magazine in response to its search for portraitures of 2020 graduates.
The Drexel graduate-to-be told the Inquirer she “cried happy tears” when her photography series was selected.
Hannah’s photographs can be seen in the June 1-8, 2020 edition of Time magazine, found here. Anna Orso’s coverage in the Philadelphia Inquirer appeared May 22, 2020 and can be found here. Hannah Beier’s website can be found here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wendi Rank is an alumnus of Abington High School and LaSalle University. She has previously written for the journal Nursing.
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