Valdosta photographer documents front line workers during pandemic

By: Amber Spradley | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 14, 2020

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Valdosta photographer Javon Longieliere is capturing the local unsung heroes behind the masks as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic from the front line.

They're not your ordinary glamour shots. He's calling his "Hometown Heroes" collection real portraits of local people in a worldwide crisis.

"These are the people that are keeping your city going," he said. "These are the people that are keeping your grocery stores stocked. These are the people that are there when you're still breaking a leg or having a heart attack. And, on top of that, they're also fighting this terrible disease that's actually rampaging our world right now."

In the midst of tragedy and fear the coronavirus has brought, Longieliere is using his lens to capture strength with a touch of levity.

"From what I've been told from some of the nurses and the community workers and the doctors is that it's actually been a nice break from the harsh reality of what we're going through at this point," Longieliere said.

Patrick Chancy, a Hahira pharmacist with Chancy Drugs, is one of many community members captured by Longieliere on the job.

Like others, he'll receive one simple picture: a photograph from the heart.

"This is awesome," Chancy said. "Really, right now, a lot of people are seeing a lot of bad news and not really seeing what's truly going on out there, and so it's good to see someone going out there and making sure that real news is being spread."

So far, Longieliere has captured many healthcare workers, restaurant owners and non-profit organizations. Each warrior is photographed against the same white, bare backdrop.

"The reason that I'm doing the white background is because I'm trying to connect everybody in the community with kind of a singular theme but then also bring in props and logos and stuff from where they were at the time, but still be connected so we're all kind of like that one community."

As he documents this unprecedented time, Longieliere hopes to display his photos of local heroes for everyone to see.

For now, a selection of portraits are posted his website.

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