The Project was
to create portraits of and collect stories from the class of 2020 who graduated at home!

Artist's Statement

I simply felt called to do this project.  What a privilege to be invited to people’s homes (into their yards at least) to interview and photograph the Graduate and hear about their experience.  One of the ways we process major events is to speak about our journey through them and hear ourselves - affirming meaning and honoring what we went through.  It was an honor to serve in this way and this experience touched me deeply.  I hope you enjoy their stories and the images I have created.

Lori Sortino, Philosographer  (recording events from a particular philosophical viewpoint)

Video Slide Show of the Portraits (with captions, no sound)

Read Our Stories!

Each participant's interview transcript can be viewed by clicking on their name below.

Andrew PericicAtascadero High School 
Brady EckTempleton High School 
Cameron WhickerDos Pueblos High School 
Cassandra Olivar-CárdenasPaso Robles High School 
Cole KoschekaPaso Robles High School 
Delaney BlackAtascadero High School 
Elizabeth PeckSt. Andrews UniversityDoctor in Veterinary Medicine
Evan AsplundTempleton High School 
Grant ThackerSan Luis Obispo High School 
Hannah N. WilliamsTempleton High School 
Ian StrainTempleton High School 
Isaiah RodriguezAtascadero High School 
Jacob ThackerSan Luis Obispo High School 
Janice PalaciosPaso Robles High School 
Jessica HusbandCal Poly, SLOB.S. in Psychology
Kayla DeBlauSamuel Merritt UniversityDoctor in Podiatric Medicine
Kyle PericicAtascadero High School 
Liberty OrtizCal Poly, SLOB.S. in Graphic Communications
Marco PerezPaso Robles High School 
Megan FisherArroyo Grande High School 
Mitchel Savery-OrtonTempleton High School 
Morgan MorettiCal Poly, SLOB.S. in Chemistry
Paige CoburnUC Santa CruzB.S. in Neuroscience
Shaley GuntherCSU Long BeachB.S. in Anthropology
Suzannie MarshallCal Poly, SLOB.S. in Industrial Technology and Packaging
Zane WarrenPaso Robles High School 


Available for Publication in Print Media

Contact Lori for the written stories and a selection of images.    

Available for Exhibit  

Contact Lori to schedule an installation of Printed Portraits along with accompanying printed written stories.  


Were students or families asked to pay for these photo sessions?
Students and families are participating voluntarily. They were not being paid and they are not paying to take part.  Some have purchased some of their digital images.  Three families received all images as a gift from the photographer because of financial hits as a result of COVID-19.  One young woman was gifted a canvas print for her family who she has not been able to see because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions.  Each participant received at least one free digital file download as a thank you.

Who is paying for this project?
Essence Captured Photography is providing the creative aspect and the GraduatingAtHome GoFundMe Account will cover expenses related to production, print and projected media exhibits. This is a community service project.

Is there a way to donate to this project to help cover costs?
Yes, you can donate through the GoFundMe page or send money with Venmo to @LoriSortino.

What are all the ways this photo series will be available for viewing?
There is no known limit, as long as it is shared tastefully and respectfully. I will be open to invitations from the media and the community for exhibiting the series. We will have to sense into what is appropriate based on where people are able to go, in public, and hopefully get these up in print in public spaces. Billboards? Whatever the GoFundMe funds will allow.

Are you sharing updates on the project?
Yes!  Follow my Essence Captured Facebook Page or my personal Facebook page or Instagram Account!

Have Photo Releases been signed by the participating graduates?
Yes, they have signed acknowledgement that they will not receive any compensation for the use of their likeness/image. I will maintain the copyrights to all images, and the images are created for the purpose of chronicling this historic time.

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