As the new cover of TIME Magazine makes its rounds in paper distribution and gains popularity on social media, one familiar with the photography majors at Drexel University would notice the name of the photographer — Hannah Beier.
Beier is a 23-year-old photography major at Drexel and is set to graduate in June and go off into the real world. TIME was reaching out to “photo professors across the country, looking for a student who has been documenting these extraordinary times,” and Beier’s work blew every other portfolio out of the water, as explained in TIME’s article about Beier.
Beier’s photographs and their ability to “provide an intimate look at how her friends and classmates are marking milestones and attempting to navigate their new normal” made her the right candidate for TIME’s Generation Pandemic issue, and with that she’s gained national recognition for her still frames.
As explained in TIME’s article about Beier, she was working on a “senior thesis that focused on the vulnerability of the relationships and friendships in her life.” What this meant for Beier and her photography was that each individual photo was going to be intimate, and that same method was able to translate into her pandemic series.
Beier took photos of her friends via FaceTime, directing her friends and their spaces until she had the framing just perfect and would take photo after photo until it was perfect.
One of Meier’s friends — and one of the two subjects on the cover of TIME — Melissa Nesta helped Beier come up with an apt title for her series: “Time Apart.” As a friend, fellow senior and photography major, Nesta was not just a willing participant but an enthusiastic helper in Beier’s photo series.
She and Beier decided together on the location and time of day for the soon-to-be cover shot, and based on the looks of it, it is a living room space in late morning. At this time, college campuses would be bustling, the world would be busy and bright, breakfast would be finished and just about anything could be happening on a nice weekend morning.
Instead, the stay-at-home order is in effect, and the world of screens has taken over the daily routines of those inside. With Nesta’s boyfriend, Daniel Mosley, on his computer and Nesta seemingly looking at the camera — which is, in this case, her phone, positioned where a television would be in the living room — she too is looking at a screen. Both seem to have lower energy, their 2020 decorations hung up above their couch, and an air of restlessness hangs palpably.
All of this is understandable, and yet you can almost see yourself in the room with them, discussing the current state of affairs and hoping to have some positivity for the future. It is as intimate as it is a sign of the times, and there is without a doubt no surprise that Beier’s laborious efforts on perfecting her photos has paid off.
Beier has her entire series up on her website, hannahbeier.com. As she graduates in June from the comforts of her home, she will be known as the “photographer of the generation pandemic” for a long time to come.