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Putting a face on the pandemic’s frontline workers

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Russ Salamon of Salamon Commercial and Fine Art Photography, west of Tillsonburg, has applied his creative talents to put a spotlight on 10 Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“I wanted to give the public a face – the faces of people that are fighting (the pandemic),” said Salamon. “I said, ‘how does a creator do it?’ Well I realized… you’ve got to do faces. Show the public who these people are. You see all these signs that say ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ You never see a face. I said ‘I think that will be the best way to give credit to these 10 people who are representative of a larger group all around us – and just give them a heartfelt thank you. I wish I could have stayed with them longer and give them thanks.”

Salamon credited an Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce promotion that featured small and medium businesses in the province – including his business – and how they are surviving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I got in touch with the hospital (Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital), they weren’t sure, they said ‘give us a proposal, what are you going to do?’ I believe that (promotion) really opened the door. The proposal, plus that, paved the way.”

His proposal included the use of homemade COVID props. He had 10 minutes or less per room to complete each ‘model session’ using doctors and hospital staff as models. The hospital approved 10 photos for its own use.

“This one, she was holding this (prop) which represents ‘from COVID time to peace and love time,’ the transition,” said Salamon.

Salamon plans to approach other hospitals in the area ‘to continue this goodwill until we have no more COVID.’

“If I can reach more hospitals, and show them these (photographs), as a stepping stone to helping them out, then I’m all game.”

Salamon provided the photos to the hospital free of charge.

“I gave them my time, I did not charge them for anything. I just said, if I can use these for my own promotion… If you have the time and the means to help out, you do what you can right now. It was the Small Business Centre that said, ‘they will remember you later if you help them out now.'”

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