How the Pandemic Impacted Freelancers

Alex Garcia’s Modeling Journey

Alex Garcia is 23-year-old model based in South Texas, signed to 2 agencies and has been in the fashion industry for quite some time now. He was excited to further his career when the Covid-19 pandemic put his goals on standby. Now with things opening and work coming back, he is ready to get back on track and continue in his Modeling efforts.

Carlos Martinez’s Photoshoot Blues

Carlos Martinez is a 23-year-old photographer based in Central Texas, who was excited to get a lot of shoots done during 2020 but was held back because of the pandemic. Now that Texas is opening up again and vaccines are becoming readily available, Carlos is excited to ramp up his work schedule and create art again.

Inside the Camera

Although many people did not know how to continue with their careers during the pandemic, we received new information each week that would help us prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 and continue working. Unlike regular fulltime employees, the safety standards were to be kept up by freelancers who now must provide safe working environments if they are wanting to find work. Many decided to get tested before and after shoots and wore masks to prevent any possible spreading of COVID-19.

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Photographer, @femme_flora, makes sure to keep her shoots safe not only for herself and her staff, but for the models as well. Shoots will not start until the models have gotten tested and quarantined before their shooting day. Masks are a priority as you can see both the photographer and lighting assistant are wearing masks. ( Photo by @SouljaFred.)
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Both models,@alejandrogarcia.jpg and @noellekristine_, made sure to get tested before and after shoots to secure the safety of their health. They both made sure to stay quarantined before and after the shoots to prevent any possible spreading. (Photo by @femme_flora.)
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Photographer, @cimagrdaphy, made sure to get tested before and after to ensure his safety. As a freelance photographer his health was at the upmost importance, without it he wouldn’t have been able to work. (Photo by Carlos Martinez.)
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Carlos Martinez, also made sure to keep a 6-foot radius from the public as a way to prevent the possible spreading of COVID-19. Made sure to keep contact with the models at a minimum and kept a sanitary working environment. (Photo by Carlos Martinez)
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Many freelancers had to get a second job to replace the income that they would normally receive. With work being scarce many photographers had to follow strict guidelines to ensure safety. (Photo by Carlos Martinez.)
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As of recently, the vaccine has become available allowing people to finally meet up to do shoots; Health is number 1 and we can ensure safety we must do our part. (Photo by Me.)
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Many freelancers had lost their job and now that government aid is being prioritized a lot of them are picking the pieces back up. (Photo by Me.)
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We all had to endure hardships to get here, but the journey made us all appreciate and understand that tomorrow is not a given. Privilege is invisible to those that have it and knowing that our autonomy was taken from us makes it that much sweeter to get back to work. (Photo by Me)
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People not only lost their jobs, but some had also lost their lives and to ensure that their deaths are not in vain we must continue to appreciate the things we take for granted. The pandemic was tough for everybody, but ensuring the safety of others and yourself will allows to regain any sense of normalcy.
(Photo by Me.)
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Although things are better now, we must ensure each other to keep CDC guidelines and get tested frequently as to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Me.)

How Freelance Workers Handled the Pandemic

Last year we all had high hopes that 2020 was going to be a great year for all of us, but instead we all got hit with the cold reality that is COVID-19. We all had to struggle and figure out how life was going to work out in the pandemic, and to make matters worse a lot of us struggled financially and career wise when we got a notice that our jobs were not “essential.” This was a bitter pill to swallow, especially for freelance workers such as artists, models, and photographers, but it was heavily necessary to keep people safe and lower the risk of spreading the virus. Now with Texas opening and vaccines becoming readily available we are starting to see changes and regaining the control we had lost. I have asked several freelance workers what majors they faced, how they overcame them, and what life looks like post-pandemic.

One of the key issues that most freelance workers faced, like models and photographers, was the inability to show up to a shoot or a fashion show since neither party could ensure safety. In an article published by Model Alliance, the authors, Pinto, Strom, West, and Ziff all stated in their findings that, “One in five respondents (20%) said they did not currently have enough money to cover basic needs, and just over half (51%) said they could not cover essential needs in the event they were unable to work during the next three months.” This illustrates the severity of the issues many models faced and how little they could do within their industry to fix the issues. Another complaint was that many agencies and clients were not paying their models, this is stated again by the authors, Pinto, Strom, West, and Ziff, “Over half of respondents (55%) said they were owed money by clients, and around half (49%) were owed money by their agencies. A little over a third (36%) were owed money by both. Nearly one-third (30%) said they had outstanding payments for which they had waited over ninety days.” Illuminating the issues with pay that many models faced during COVID-19.

Many freelance workers had to get a second job or find other business ventures to supplement for their lost of income. Carlos Martinez is an example of one of the many photographers who had to look elsewhere to pay the necessities, such as rent, food, water, and electricity, but with new information coming along and CDC guidelines being put in place he found ways to continue his work while doing his best to ensure his and the models safety. He made sure to get both him and the models tested before and after the shoots, as well as make sure to keep the shoots at capacity of 2 people and to be aware of their surrounding to maintain a 6-foot radius from the public. He would also wear a mask to all the shoots and made sure the areas were clean and safe before any work would commence.

With recent news coming out that Texas is opening, and other states are starting the process as well, and the vaccine becoming more readily available, many are excited for the future. Many of the issues that plagued freelance workers during the pandemic are being looked at and there is hope that they will be resolved. In an interview published by INDY, the interviewer, Scott Bedgood, asked Indeed economist Ann Elizabeth Konkel, what potential benefits would the government give to freelancers, in which Konkel responded, “I suspect they may have been referring to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) which was one of the programs that was designated by the CARES Act (the first stimulus bill signed in March 2020) to allow freelancers and gig workers as well as some other people who could not apply for regular unemployment benefits to have unemployment benefits during this crisis.” This illustrates the hopeful future in which freelancers will hopefully start to receive the same benefits as full-time employees.

Overall, many people faced struggles during the pandemic, and did not have a clue as to what life was going to be like, we all had to buckle down and face these issues together. Either by getting a second job or deciding to continue in your field while following as many CDC guidelines as possible, we all had to figure it out. Although many of us lost so much during the pandemic, we are excited to take back the time we lost.

Freelance Artists Excited for the Future

Due to the pandemic many people lost their jobs and had to put a hold on any future goals they had until the shutdown was lifted. Now both Model Alex Garcia and Vincent Bekong are two happy freelancers excited for post-pandemic life and what the future holds.

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