Dominique Ross, 27, is a former foster youth, photographer and now, an “essential worker.”
When the coronavirus hit, he lost a job as a concession worker at the Staples Center – where the Lakers, Clippers and Kings play – in downtown Los Angeles. At the same time, all of his photo gigs were summarily canceled.
“Everything happened so fast and suddenly,” Ross said. “I fell into depression for two weeks. I picked myself back up by having Zoom meetings with close friends and through prayer. I knew I wasn’t in this alone. Everyone around us has had to take a step back and adjust to things changing around us, and fast.”
In early April, two weeks after the pandemic-induced lockdowns set in, Ross found a job as an “online shopper” at a big chain grocery store not far from his home off L.A.’s famous Sunset Blvd. There, Ross prepares grocery orders for home deliveries.
“It is stressful,” Ross said. “I am always around the public, and the company doesn’t have a lot of guidelines for distancing ourselves, and even sanitization products aren’t always available. I don’t feel safe at all at work, but I made it my duty to get tested every other week.
The experience of working during the pandemic has made Ross more accountable, he said, “being an adult and taking full responsibility over my life.”
Ross has also enrolled himself in an online photography class, listens to religious podcasts and is reading constantly.
“It has become very important for me to protect my mental state, and try my best to be the best me I can be every day,” he said. “I know a lot that has happened isn’t in my control so I have had to adapt to changes around me while keeping a positive mindset.”
In this photo series, Ross takes you through his day as an essential worker, walking past an abandoned home taken over by squatters, riding the bus, managing a photo shoot and finding solace in exercise.