Portraits from the Aftermath

By 6:30 am, when I started my first job of the day, it was already light out. I’m not used to this. I nanny in the dark, before the sun comes up, and after it sets.

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The sun rose, and the sky was blue. The routine was the same, but in the context of what happened last night, everything had changed. It didn’t matter that tiny hands pressed on the same glass window, because the world outside it had been fundamentally altered. I am already nostalgic for today–the day before I know what happens next. I think anyone anywhere on the spectrum can agree: regardless of whether things are going to get better, they’re going to get a lot uglier first.

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I grabbed my camera on the way out the door, because I felt that if this is the beginning of the end, I want to remember the beginning. I want to remember how people were the morning after, so that, no matter how much further muddied and divisive this country becomes, I could look back at the frozen faces of the people with whom I shared this city, on this day. And, too: the sun rose. People started walking to Bart along with me. But it was like something otherworldly had happened last night, and I needed confirmation: You saw it too, right? You heard it too, right? It did happen, and you are aware of this too, right? Portrait photography allows me to approach strangers and ask for a shared experience.

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And so, I spent most of my day walking around the streets of the Financial District before and after job #2, approaching people who seemed like they had a moment to share. I didn’t record voices, because I wanted people to talk to me. I asked how they felt about what happened last night. I asked if they saw it coming. If they were Trump supporters, I asked what they’re hoping for over the next four years. If they weren’t, I asked what their game plan is for the next four years. They said things like, “To survive.”

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In order to respect people’s privacy, I will not specify who said what. I hadn’t realized how many Trump supporters shared the sidewalk with me every day until I started talking to the people right next to me. I would have liked to start doing this sooner.

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If you are one of the people I approached, thank you for sharing your voice and your image with me. I am touched by your generosity, and am honored by your support. Contact me if you have any concerns.

And so, here are my

Portraits from the Aftermath. 

One was worried about their father’s deportation. 

One thought quietly for a long time, and then said, they might go back to Guatemala. 

One said they were looking forward to change. They had wanted change, and didn’t get it in the past eight years. They don’t know how it’s going to happen, but they know that’s what they wanted, and now they hope to get it. 

One is happy with the outcome, and is looking forward to a better healthcare system, that “has gotta be regulated.” 

One doesn’t care about politics. 

Another one doesn’t care about politics. 

One wanted nothing to do with it. 

One plans to: “Hope. Faith. Love.” This one didn’t vote. 

One stopped voting after Bernie dropped his campaign. 

One is from Mexico.

One is from Ireland. 

One is from just outside of London. 

One is from Brazil. 

One is from France.

One is from Australia. 

One is from Argentina.

One is from Ohio.

One just moved here from India. 

One felt like they had been punched in the stomach.

One felt powerless. This one wasn’t surprised by the outcome. I accidentally made this one cry. This one and I hugged. 

One (the Australian one) said they’re worried they’re going to war, because if we go to war, they go to war.

One was lazy, and didn’t vote. But will vote next time. Because now there’s time again.

One wished they’d known I would take their picture today, because they would have worn something different.

One felt pretty shitty.

One didn’t say anything.

One said, “The people have spoken.”

One called it “your usual crazy American shenanigans, in a broken system.”

One said, “Good luck (to you all).”

One gave me free dessert.

One asked me for a dollar.

One and I exchanged numbers.

One said I seem like a smart 22-year-old. And to keep talking to people. 

One had just walked out of high school in protest. And felt better about it.

One admitted: somehow, today was a beautiful day. It was beautiful out.

All were kind to me. After all, people aren’t usually afraid of white women. 

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