Aaron Jay Young set out to create portraits of the heroic frontline workers at a local hospital that portray the humanity of these brave individuals and create a record of this point in history.
At Elinchrom, we believe in the power of photography. Few other mediums can create almost instantaneous connections on a human level with respect and nuance, something we feel the world needs now more than ever. For that reason, we chose to view the launch of the Elinchrom ONE as an opportunity to share our platform with photographers whose work we admire not just for the execution but their intent. We view the ability to highlight photographers who use their art to bring attention to complex issues as a great privilege, and Aaron Jay Young is one of those photographers.
Earlier this year, we contacted Aaron and offered him full support on a project of his choice. Aaron set out to create portraits of the heroic frontline workers at a local hospital that portray the humanity of these brave individuals and create a record of this point in history.
“I got the sense that everybody was in the middle of something unimaginable.”
“I went through many different ideas for this project; however, since we were in the middle of the pandemic and it was something that everybody collectively was going through at the same time, I knew I wanted to focus on that.”
“I had seen various videos throughout the months of healthcare workers who were on the front lines, having to deal with the reality of this virus...They didn't have the luxury of debating whether or not it was real or getting into the countless arguments based on politics; they were busy actually living it, actually showing up every day risking their own lives to care for others. For this reason I wanted to feature them.“
“For me, I've got a desire to allow everybody to feel seen and heard. I want to give a platform to people who are oppressed and discriminated against, who some people think of as "less than." I want to capture them in a way that feels the truest - with a sense of authenticity, dignity, and humanity.
There is an element of dehumanization that occurs in so many ways from our prison system, to the healthcare system, to the systematic racism that permeates through every institution in this country and I guess I see my work as the antithesis to that. Rather than dehumanize I want to not only humanize but capture the tenacity of the human spirit.”
“Every time I do any kind of project like this, or even in my daily work, I am constantly reminded that every single person has a desire to be seen and to be heard, and I am constantly reminded that we can all give this experience to any person at any time simply by being present with them.”
With Aaron being one of the first photographers to get their hands on the ONE - we had to ask about the experience of shooting with the new light during this project.
Aaron replied: “I love how lightweight and small the ONE is. The way we lit this project is very similar to how I usually work - I'm often mixing artificial and natural light on-location. I will definitely be using the ONE for future projects.”
What's Aarons’s next adventure?
“I just finished a project with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition for Father's Day, where we photographed several formerly incarcerated fathers and their kids. Check out their Instagram to see the project and learn more about the amazing work they are doing.
There are also a couple of other big things on the horizon that I can't talk about just yet but am so excited to be announcing soon!”
Aaron’s current lighting kit is:
Elinchrom ONE Off Camera Flash Kit, Rotalux Octabox 175 cm (69"), Rotalux Deep Octabox 100 cm (39"),