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‘The Longest Shift’ highlights essential workers who kept Los Angeles running

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In December of 2020, Los Angeles-based photographer Sam Comen began photographing the essential workers of Los Angeles—from trauma nurses and grocery store cashiers to truckers and custodial staff—and documenting the toll that the pandemic would take on their lives. Reported during the pandemic’s relentless winter wave, Comen’s photographs laid bare the systemic inequalities that forced underpaid and overworked employees to shoulder an unthinkable burden. They also highlighted their courage and resolve. One year to the day after the country’s first stay-at-home order went into effect, Comen published the work, titled The Longest Shift.

Jennifer Alcantar
Cashier, Super A Foods Grocery Store
Being here at the grocery store, we are front line. We had customers come in here, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, I have COVID, but I’m fine.’ . . . It makes me upset, thinking they can’t wear their masks just to come and shop for their groceries for like 20 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, but yet I’m standing in the store for 9 hours, and having my mask is........

© Fast Company

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