Lens of History
As a photojournalist, I've always wanted to tell stories that speak to a moment in history. I have photographed children and adults around the world in incredibly unique situations, from the thrill of snowboarding in Kashmir on the Line of Control, to the drama of World Cup ski racing, and the heartbreaking struggle of daily life in orphanages in Haiti. However, Covid-19's sudden arrival in Vail, a resort town seemingly insulated from world-changing tragedy that markets itself as an international destination for those seeking fun and action in the outdoors, was unlike anything I had ever witnessed before and was made even more arresting as the pandemic unfolded in my own backyard.
In mid-March, two days after Vail Resorts announced the immediate closure of all of its North American ski mountains in an attempt to slow the spread of novel coronavirus, the Town of Vail approached me to see if I felt comfortable documenting the situation to create a visual record for the municipality's archives. I jumped at the chance, thinking I'd spend a couple of weeks photographing the town as it hunkered down while the pandemic ran its course then life quickly returned to normal, akin to the way a resort town in Hurricane Alley might ride out a storm, dust itself off, and welcome everyone back to paradise. However as weeks rolled into months, I watched through my lens as our normally bustling wintertime community emptied of three-quarters of its population overnight and then those who remained adjusted to a routine of social distancing, mask wearing, and a whole new way of working and living with the coronavirus. As I continue to cover the ongoing effects of and the ever-changing response to Covid-19 in the Town of Vail, I find myself conflicted, feeling both fortunate to have such a unique window into the situation and saddened to be in the midst of a pandemic that, four months later, shows no signs of disappearing any time soon. My hope is that these images withstand the test of time and speak to the way my community responded to this challenging moment in the Town of Vail's history with resilience, much like those who came before us more than a half century ago and built an international destination resort in Colorado's mountains, out of nothing more tangible than a dream.