Portraits of Courage
Stephanie Kretzschmer Tributes Toronto's Frontline Heroes
June 9, 2020
Creative responses to the strain of Covid-19 abound. Stephanie Kretzschmer turned her personal experience into a photographic tribute of our frontline superheroes.
In early April, at the advice of my doctor, I made a trip to the Humber River Hospital ER (all is good). I was very anxious and didn’t want to go because of Covid-19, but I had no choice. It turns out I had no reason to be afraid. I was well cared for and I am beyond grateful for the calm and professional attention I received from Hospital staff.
I observed many people that morning and I realized that while frontline workers are often talked about as a generic group, this important group is made up off many different and capable individuals who each has a story to tell. To show my appreciation, to give thanks and to give back to the community I’ve created a portrait series highlighting the people who put their lives at risk to help others.
I knew I would have to shoot fast and from a distance with no option for styling. Inspired by Irving Penn’s corner portraits series, I was intrigued to experience his theory: “This confinement, surprisingly seemed to comfort people, soothing them.“ I replaced flats with a canvas that I could set-up solo and over a period of three days photographed 240 individuals.
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