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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone worldwide. My series Dear Customers examines changes to businesses and institutions in one neighborhood primarily along its major commercial thoroughfare. In May 2020, I photographed signs that inform the public of their establishments’ modifications due to the pandemic. Some signs are corporate and professionally produced while others are handwritten with a personal touch. The signs vary in size, color, and manner of display. Some are professionally hung while others are makeshift and improvised. The establishments have adapted their operations with temporary closings, reduced hours, curbside pick-up, and/or moving operations online. These differences reveal much about each establishment.
I use grids to emphasize the large number of enterprises in this neighborhood and their myriad ways of coping. On the left, headlines from the Washington Post provide context on the pandemic. The right side lists the specific addresses of individual photographs. The size of each panel is variable ranging from 50 x 44 inches to 60 x 53 inches. This large size allows viewers easily to examine salient details in the individual photographs which are approximately 6.5 x 9.75 inches or 7.9 x 11.75 inches. My documentary-style photographs often include the illusion of layers. In addition to the informational sign, many photos include interior views, architectural details, and reflections of myself and the surrounding neighborhood. The meaning extends beyond a recording of signs and becomes a neighborhood portrait.