Faces on the Frontlines

For The Martha's Vineyard Times

Ranee Forrest, an employee at Cronig's Market.
Ranee Forrest, an employee at Cronig's Market.
info
×
Kurt Schuler, an employee at Cronig's Market.
Kurt Schuler, an employee at Cronig's Market.
info
×
Tri-Town EMS officer Ben Retmier says call volume has been down but the past weeks have overall been a hard time. Retmier was one of many who said "I'm similing behind my mask but you can't see it."
Tri-Town EMS officer Ben Retmier says call volume has been down but the past weeks have overall been a hard time. Retmier was one of many who said "I'm similing behind my mask but you can't see it."
info
×
Kendra Wray in between Mail deliveries in West Tisbury.
Kendra Wray in between Mail deliveries in West Tisbury.
info
×
Katie and Marshall Carroll, owners of the Menemsha Texaco
Katie and Marshall Carroll, owners of the Menemsha Texaco
info
×
Henriqueta Barroso, an employee at Cronig's Market.
Henriqueta Barroso, an employee at Cronig's Market.
info
×
Carol at Jim's Package Store in Oak Bluffs, open regular hours, seven days a week.
Carol at Jim's Package Store in Oak Bluffs, open regular hours, seven days a week.
info
×
Cliff at Jim's Package Store in Oak Bluffs.

Cliff at Jim's Package Store in Oak Bluffs.

info
×
Rusty Gordon, owner of Ghost Island Farm. Gordon says he has switched to an online ordering system with pick up windows because of an extremely high demand which lead to traffic backing up onto State Road.
Rusty Gordon, owner of Ghost Island Farm. Gordon says he has switched to an online ordering system with pick up windows because of an extremely high demand which lead to traffic backing up onto State Road.
info
×
Diane Nolan at work at the West Tisbury Post Office.
Diane Nolan at work at the West Tisbury Post Office.
info
×
Newton Waite (left) and 
Anthony Foster (right), owners of Vineyard Caribbean Cuisine in Oak Bluffs. Foster expressed concerns about the effects of Covid-19 and the Oak Bluffs Ferry Terminal closure affecting summer business.
Newton Waite (left) and Anthony Foster (right), owners of Vineyard Caribbean Cuisine in Oak Bluffs. Foster expressed concerns about the effects of Covid-19 and the Oak Bluffs Ferry Terminal closure affecting summer business.
info
×
Cristiane Marcal, an employee in Cronig's Market Deli department.
Cristiane Marcal, an employee in Cronig's Market Deli department.
info
×
Bobby Barbera, an employee at Cronig's Market.
Bobby Barbera, an employee at Cronig's Market.
info
×
Lashana Fisher, gas attendant at Citgo Extramart in Vineyard Haven.
Lashana Fisher, gas attendant at Citgo Extramart in Vineyard Haven.
info
×

Like most communities around the world, normal life on Martha’s Vineyard is on pause as we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, as most Islanders have been self-isolating for more than a month, our essential services have continued to run effectively thanks to the workers who put their health on the line for everyone at home. I set out to photograph these brave individuals in an effort to celebrate their work.

Gratitude for workers on the frontlines here is clear. A drive around the Island shows homemade signs of appreciation—on front lawns, outside the hospital, and in front of Cronig’s and Stop & Shop. While driving on State Road one day, I found Mary Gosling, owner of Island Cove Mini Golf, planting flowers below the Island Cove sign. When I asked whether she had intentions of reopening, she responded that while socially distanced mini golf might be in our future, for now the flowers were a thank you to all essential workers. “I want them [the Cronig’s employees] to have something beautiful to look at when they go to and from work.”

This ongoing photo project highlights those whose importance may not be obvious: the gas station attendants who allow us to stay in our cars while getting the fuel we need, the supermarket employees who load the pallets of toilet paper off of trucks, the USPS workers who touch countless packages daily, the fishermen who bring fresh food to our tables, and the Steamship Authority employees who keep us connected to the supply chain.

As I began this project, I realized that if I were to capture people as we see them, at work, it would be difficult to hold a conversation from 6 feet away through a mask when there is a constant flow of people demanding their service. With everyone in full protective gear, conversations are now different, but a distanced person-to-person relationship is still possible. While photographing Islanders on the frontlines, sometimes a thumbs up or down was the extent of our conversation. What is always clear from these conversations, verbal or non-verbal, is their dedication to supporting themselves, their family, and the community.

Using Format