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Photography Senior Shoots TIME Cover During COVID-19

TIME Magazine Generation Pandemic Issue cover
Photograph by Hannah Beier for TIME

June 10, 2020

When the 2019-2020 school year began, Drexel University Photography senior Hannah Beier was focused on finishing her degree. This included conceptualizing and producing a final photography project, which originally focused on capturing some of Beier’s closest friends in vulnerable and emotionally raw scenarios. Beier began conducting one-on-one photography sessions in her Philadelphia apartment, where she would aim to emotionally connect with her subjects in order to snap images that conveyed the true feelings of the models. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic took control of the lives of people around the world, including soon to be graduating college seniors, Beier’s method of photography, and the overall concept of her senior project, was forced to dramatically conform to the new normal that was put in place as a reaction to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

In place of the private, in-person photography sessions that were being conducted, Beier instead opted to use internet technology to perform virtual photography sessions. Beier would FaceTime her subjects and interview them about their time in quarantine, placing emphasis on how this abrupt lifestyle change made them feel. She would then virtually tour the subjects’ quarantine environments, which included forcibly inhabited childhood homes for the majority. Beier would pick the location for the photo and completely direct the shoot from her quarantine location – her parent’s house in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. Beier would direct models, indicate which settings to use on the camera, frame and compose the images – everything besides push the button to capture the photos.

As graduation approached for the class of 2020, TIME Magazine decided to produce a story aimed to capture the look and feel of this moment for young graduates. TIME director of photography, Katherine Pomerantz, and her team reached out to photography programs at colleges around the United States, finding Beier’s work in the process. Her project ended up in the pages of TIME’s Generation Pandemic issue, and was eventually fittingly titled “Time Apart.” Thanks to the help of Drexel’s Photography program, Beier is already accomplishing her career goals with her TIMES work being her first professionally published photos. Beier stated that the goal of the series was "to portray personal and authentic moments that connect us beyond the commonality of living through a pandemic," and she accomplished just that in a piece that has immortalized the multitude of emotions the class of 2020 experienced as their college careers came to a bittersweet end. Beier’s entire series can be found on her website.

Media Mentions

  • “COVID Will Shape the Class of 2020 for Their Entire Lives” – TIME Magazine
  • “Why TIME Devoted an Issue to COVID's Impact on Young People” – TIME Magazine
  • “How a Philly 23-year-old photographed a Time magazine cover without leaving her home” – Philadelphia Inquirer
  • “Drexel student's photograph makes cover of TIME's 'Generation Pandemic' issue” – Philly Voice
  • “Recent Drexel graduate's photo makes cover of TIME magazine” – 6-abc
  • “Graduating Drexel student photographs ‘generation pandemic’ for Time magazine cover” - KYW-Newsradio
  • “Class of 2020; Katie Couric Talks with a Senior About Creativity and Process During the Covid-19 Crisis” - Yahoo! News