Sign outside Chemainus Secondary School that’s indicative of our changing times, with safeguards in place to protect students from COVID. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Powerful image and words on the pandemic from photographer

Our changing world documented as part of a daily project

Chemainus photographer Ashley Marston has been capturing images of her family daily for the last six years as part of an ongoing project she calls ‘A Daily Occurrence.’

“I have felt that it is not only my job as their mother and as a documentarian to capture the happy moments of our life as a family of five, but also to photograph the challenging ones,” she explained.

And these times with the current COVID-19 pandemic certainly fall into the challenging category.

Marston had intended to take a photo of son Noah inside Chemainus Secondary School while wearing a mask during the first day of school this year, with fellow students walking around him in the hallway. She was going to slow down the shutter speed on her camera down so Noah would be sharp and in focus while the other students would be blurred from movement.

But access to the school is currently blocked to adults due to COVID and Marston had to come up with an alternate plan.

“Instead, we tried to bring the same concept outside the school and ended up with this image, still powerful,” she indicated.

In addition to the photograph, Marston took to social media with the following observations:

“It is this generation that shapes who we are about to become. It is this generation that will lead and educate us. I kept our future leader home with me for seven months while the whole world changed. He watched what was happening outside his door on a TV screen from his couch, eating ramen noodles and playing his guitar.

“He feels passionately about things happening in our world. He questions the leaders’ decisions, he thinks differently than you or I do, he challenges the system, he is empathetic, he is sensitive, he is educated and he’s trying to find his way in this insane world. His life will be split up into two chapters – before the pandemic and after. The young adults of today will always remember the way things were and the moment things changed.

“But today I sent him to school, masked, and still unsure if we made the right decision. But it’s time. It’s time to get them off the couch and into the classroom to start making waves, to start making changes and shape a new world.”

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