Faces under stress. This was my original idea. I have been photographing the Houston marathon for many years, and I am always at the same location. Somewhere around miles 18 to 21, runners “hit the wall.” Their muscles feel like concrete, and their minds are not sure if they can endure the ordeal. Each runner’s determination to finish at this point is evident.

I started the work in February, and, as I progressed and the world went into a tailspin and lockdown, the faces that I looked at everyday in my studio were no longer marathon runners competing in a race. The marathon came to symbolize the pandemic. The portraits became my companions in isolation, waiting for answers and guidance that never came.

Our marathon is not over, but I have hope that we are nearing the finish line.
Cara Barer