As we are forced to rethink, redefine, and reexamine what is most important in a year where we have lost so much, I took on this photography project entitled “What Really Matters” featuring landscape photos of businesses boarded up amidst a pandemic and civil rights movement. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, most luxurious stores boarded their windows with plywood as shelter-in-place orders were issued and stores were forced to close up. Those same streets resurfaced following the death of George Floyd which sparked protests and destruction of property. After that, businesses had once again braced themselves for nationwide protests in anticipation of post-election turmoil in the fall. I was influenced by the photographer Santiago Porter, who works on historical memory of traumatic events, to preserve the memory of this year in my photographs. Seeing these grand storefronts such as Louis Vuitton or Chanel get boarded up, we realize that the things we have given importance to, such as designer brands or luxurious stores, are not actually as important as we think. When we put these landscapes of consumerism, mainly designed for us to spend our money on, in the context of a pandemic that continues to bring us closer to our mortality, it is a powerful yet painful way of acquiring perspective to what truly matters in life. It brings with it the moment to reflect on our own human fragility and the importance of co-responsibility in a world where so many have lost their jobs and lives.
Aly Trinidad was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and went to the United States to attend the University of San Francisco. She is currently a Senior pursuing a degree in the field of Accounting and has held numerous executive board positions within different organizations on campus such as the School of Management Honors Program and the South East Asian Student Association. Aly loves traveling around the world to immerse herself in different cultures and you’ll often find her with coffee on one hand and a film camera on the other. Despite majoring in Accounting, she’s always been deeply interested in photography, film, graphic design and has gotten into video editing very recently in an effort to memorialize her life experiences!