Last March, California was the first US state to enforce a mandatory stay-at-home order in hopes to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Now that California pandemic restrictions have been lifted, LA-based photographer, Sam Comen dedicates his time visiting dozens of essential workers in the Los Angeles area; capturing their portraits, sharing their stories on losing work and COVID-19’s impact on turning their jobs high-risk.
In the website series #TheLongestShift, Comen captures Local 705 Costumer Lindsey Clough (right) and freelance Makeup Artist, Jasmine Dashtizad (left) as they share how COVID-19 affected their personal lives and it’s impact on the film and television industry.
Check out their interviews below:
Lindsey Clough: Going back to work in June, when permits started being issued again was incredibly stressful and kind of overstimulating after 100 days of quarantining with my family. The whole world had changed, really.
The city had put out guidelines and our unions had put out guidelines, but nothing was mandated. A lot of companies sort of picked and chose what they felt was the safest way to do things. I felt, especially in those early months, that it was up to us as the workers to stand up and decide what was safest and what worked best for us.
I don’t have the option to not work and ride this out. I’m responsible for the health insurance for our family. It’s a special type of stress. There are plenty of moments in which I’m like, “This is just clothes,” or “This is just a commercial. This is silly. Why am I doing this?” but I have to support my family. and I’m trying to do it the safest way possible.
Jasmine Dashtizad: I come from an immigrant family. I’ve been working since I was 16 years old. I had never not worked, so when the industry shut down last year it was the first time that, through no doing of my own, I was unemployed. I remember sitting at my laptop, filling in the unemployment form, and starting to cry, because there was this shame I had never experienced before.
Until the pandemic, I wasn’t aware just how exposed I am to my clients. There’s no way for me to do what I do from six feet away. I’ve always worked unmasked, without any gloves, without any PPE. Wearing it constantly in order to protect myself and protect my client took a lot of getting used to.
COVID-19 forces us to look at who and what sustains society. Hear from more essential workers at TheLongestShift.com.