Documenting A Health Crisis

Perspectives from our Project: Identity Photography Students

boy walking through field at Bethel Woods

During their time together and apart, Project: Identity Photography participants learned a variety of technical, historical, and creative ways to use photography as a form of self-expression.

Each year, we start or end each class with a ritual: a recurring theme or assignment. Rituals encourage critical thinking, observation, and a photo essay or series development as well as spontaneity when taking pictures. We decided to shift the focus of our ritual to address what was happening in our society.

Each week from March through June, our teens were asked to take pictures from home as a way to document the global health crisis and how it affected their immediate lives. This page offers a glimpse into the home life of a select few students before and during social distancing practices and stay-at-home mandates.


faded hopscotch tiles covered in leaves
"I was trying to convey my longing to go back to school. Don’t take the little things for granted – spending time with friends, teachers and people in school. The feeling of being in the senior lounge or sitting in a classroom. These are real things to be missed right now." -John M. Madera
a photo of the book "The Witches of Eastwick"
“I feel like this is such an important time and people are struggling. I have tried to find many things to keep me busy and that included reading which I’m sure some people are also doing during this tough pandemic.” -Janessa DeGroat
A snowy porch view
"Quarantine definitely has not been the easiest for many people of all ages. The cancellations of events and appointments, not being able to see loved ones, the long strenuous hours that essential workers are working and lastly the random weather ranging from 95 degree weather to snow and back to 95 dergees again." -Courtney Lewis
Bread rolls
"Passover rolls." -Eloni Chapman-Brown
Shadowed silhouettes of people outside
"During this time of crisis it's important that we stay close to our family. In this picture we were walking to an old abandoned dance hall in our woods." -Jayden Ramsay
Boy in a yellow birthday hat holding a yellow "Happy Birthday" sign
"Birthday parade." -Kylee Stapinsky
A pair of colorful Chuck Taylor converse
"Kicks." -Charlyanna Johnson
A spilled bag of sugar
"Spilled sugar." -Eloni Chapman-Brown
An empty store shelf
"Going to the stores is very difficult because people walk around not wearing masks and the shelves were very empty and I wanted to capture what has been going on during this pandemic because some places are experiencing this pandemic differently. All throughout the store also are things on the floor with '6 ft apart' which is also very weird to see in the stores." -Janessa DeGroat
A long road
"Exploring the neighborhood to cure quarantine boredom." -Lauren Franza
Colorful teepee's
"Teepee." -Kylee Stapinsky
A parade of police cars
"During quarantine many people have been celebrating their birthday social-distance-style with parades of family and friends. So for my 16th birthday my Dad surprised me with a parade filled with his coworkers, my family and friends. I appreciate everyone who showed up to make my day extra special, when I thought I wasn't going to be able to celebrate at all." -Courtney Lewis
An empty grocery storevmeat shelf
"Empty meat shelf."-Eloni Chapman-Brown
An egg sac in straw
"Egg sac." -Charlyanna Johnson
A rusted lock
"Locked." -Courtney Lewis
A female healthcare worker
"Mom- Healthcare workers part 1." -Lauren Franza
A male healthcare worker
"Dad- Healthcare workers part 2." -Lauren Franza
A boy running in a field
"Playing outside." -Kylee Stapinsky
Empty store shelves
 "Empty shelves." -Eloni Chapman-Brown


Funding for Project Identity Photography has been provided in part by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation and by Bethel Woods Center for the Arts members and donors. View a copy of our annual report for more about our supporters.