Emily Schiffer is a photographer and mixed media artist interested in the intersection between art, community engagement, and social change. She is a Co-founder and Creative Director of We, Women , the largest social impact photography...
Focus:Photographer, Photojournalist, Street Art
Skills:Digital Printing, Film Scanning, Book Layout/Design, Photo Editing, Black & White Printing, Mixed Media, Curating, Exhibition Design, Multimedia Production, Photojournalism, Sculpting
April 2, 2020: After bickering over schoolwork neither of us wants to do, Lola releases pent up energy. Ambulance sirens blare outside. They have been non-stop for weeks. I am grappling with the instability and anxiety these days hold, and decide in this moment to forgo phonics and math in favor of just about anything that sparks joy.
May 5, 2020: When I was little my grandmother would lay me across her kitchen counter to wash my hair. It was special. Today we need special. I clear off the counter, and it works. Lola says sink-washes turn her hair into a waterfall.
July 5, 2020: Having always known he wanted to be a father, Thierry’s parenthood is filled with a lifetime of anticipation. His calm and gentle demeanor has kept our family rooted through the uncertainty of this time. But the threat of the virus also awakened us to how easily life can unravel. Protective of our inner world, we take fewer risks than our friends and neighbors. We are getting used to disappointing them.
March 12, 2021: Lola’s questions often surface at bedtime. She wants to know why. Why do people hate? How and when did racism start? Did it start with one person? How did it spread? Did anyone at the beginning try to stop it? Why couldn’t they stop it? Why? I answer honestly. She is a child, so I follow her lead—allowing her to interrupt with thoughts about slime or plans to build a birdhouse with the recycling. She asks if we are safe, if interracial marriage could become illegal again, and whether we have a plan if it does. Shortly after George Floyd’s murder, Lola and her best friend decided to “do an NPR piece” asking adults about racism. They want so badly to understand. When they hit the block with their recorders, they found adults as hungry as they are for answers.
May 14, 2020: Lola’s best friend Léa, who lives down the block, turned nine today. Today I also learned that my 96-year-old grandfather passed away from Covid-19 complications. Léa has been giving Lola piano lessons via Zoom, so we brought the keyboard to Léa’s stoop and Lola gave a birthday performance. The girls’ sweetness and resilience strike me particularly hard today as I navigate the grief and anger of my grandfather’s loss.
Lit Hub: What We Want You to Know About Mothering Small Children in a Pandemic
The Longest Year: 2020+ is acollection of visual and written essays on 2020, a pivotal year that shifted our way of experiencing the world. In most publications, images work in service to words—here they work in tandem. // In part three of the series, Emily Raboteau and Emily Schiffer reflect on this long year of pandemic parenting, in text and photographs.