This is a portrait project that was conceptualized in March 2020, as the reality of the coronavirus sank in. I thought of my fellow creatives in Los Angeles and wondered how any of us were going to make it through the year. I decided to make a series of loving portraits of my friends, all of whom faced drastic loss of work and a terrifying year ahead. I had my lights and a backdrop to make their close-up portraits look like "studio" portraits, then paired each of those with an environmental portrait that exposed the artifice of the backdrop. The yellow backdrop came to symbolize my cheerful optimism approaching this project, as well as underlining the distance that separated me and my subjects. Each one of my subjects was photographed holding a prop, a "tool for survival." They got to choose their props. Some of their choices surprised me. It occurred to me that this project was serving as my own survival tool. I haven't seen any of these people in person since March 2020. Looking at these photos gives me strength.

Using Format