As COVID-19 began spreading through the United States in 2020, Chicago Public Schools, like many school systems around the country, decided to have all of its 350,000 students attend class remotely from home. Chicago-based photographer Ludvig Perés picked up his camera and began documenting this radical change to the lives of students, teachers, and their families.
Perés has focused his project on Mozart Elementary, a school in the heart of the Latino community of Logan Square, a neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago. Mozart has an enrollment of 566 students.
“In order to do this project I have been working with an organization called CPS Lives, which has granted me full access to Mozart Elementary,” Perés says. “CPS Lives is a non-profit organization that pairs Chicago artists with Chicago public schools to create a window in to the nations third largest school district.”
“What I want to convey with this project is the sense of longing many students have in this time, a longing for things to go back to how it was before the pandemic, for school to return to being in-person again,” Perés tells PetaPixel. “I want to convey the restlessness many students feel attending classes in front of a computer for whole days, five days a week.”
To visualize the remote learning, Perés chose to use projections to bring the virtual classrooms into the real classrooms and to bring the empty classrooms into the students’ homes.
It’s “metaphorically bringing the students back to the school and the school back to the students,” the photographer says.
“With this project, I also want to show how remote learning has affected the personal lives of many of these students, and how their families have dealt with the challenges imposed on them as a result of classes being conducted remotely,” Perés says.