Painted Pandemic : One Spring in Miami
Before this year, I had never experienced Spring in Miami. A story similar to the present college-sophomore across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic flipped nearly every social norm on its head when we were forced into our home. We watched disease, isolation, and quarantine change everything that we were once used to. This debacle was unpredictable by the average person; if you would have told me at the beginning of 2020 that I wouldn’t return to campus until January of the following year, I would not have believed you.
Yet, here we are, over a year into our fight against COVID. We may be wiser, better prepared, Zoom fatigued—but completely different than who we were when it began.
This month, Gravity Magazine’s April Shoot “Painted Pandemic”, features white clothing that represents a state of purity— the innocent unfamiliarity that defined our lives before the pandemic and a callback to the times we read about the virus online or on the news, but never thought much of it.
In March, our world changed. As the virus spread across the globe, we witnessed true panic and uncertainty; this drastic shift is symbolized by the colors in the shoot. The paint balloons collide with the suit to personify the abrupt manner in which COVID disrupted our lives. Furthermore emphasized by a wardrobe that’s now become commonplace: protective suits, gloves, shields, and mask.
One year later and we’re still searching for answers— not completely sure what comes next. Nonetheless, we adapt. We continue to search for beauty in the mess. And we evolve.
Whether it be advanced vaccine technology or mask mandates enforced in public places, the consequences of COVID-19 continue to affect society in profound ways. We are all conjoined by our experiences in the pandemic—some of us stayed diligent, while others threw caution into the wind. History textbooks will now refer to life as pre-quarantine and life post-quarantine. All humans are connected by this moment in history.
I am now experiencing Spring in Miami, and although I am grateful to be both here and healthy, a part of me wishes I could retain the innocence I had before I was evacuated. I wonder what it would be like to not be mask-conscious all the time or to feel confident that a runny nose in the morning was a symptom of too much pollen in the air. Of course, these thoughts are fleeting because they are a sense of blissful ignorance that I’ll never get back. Similar to the effects of permanent paint, once fabric is soiled, it can never return to what it once was. These experiences have changed our world forever. Here’s to moving forward.
REPORTER: Jasmyne Hinson, THE ART
directed by roma williams
intro by jasmyne hinson
shot by jay DeGrace
modeled by jena manning & robert bolton jr
coordinated by olbrine thelusma, nailah anderson, nevaeh williams, mackenzie beckham, lia mussie