When Northampton photographer Paul Shoul got his COVID-19 vaccine at the Big Y in Greenfield in March, he asked the nurse if he could take a photo of her.
“I looked around and this was the happiest group I had seen during the pandemic,” Shoul told MassLive. The nurse was happy to have him document this “historical moment.”This experience sparked an idea: take photos of people getting vaccinated to encourage others to go out and get their dose. The project is named “Getting Vaccinated: Portraits from the Northampton Clinic” and consists of 102 photos of people after getting their shot at the Senior Center in Northampton.But to make this happen, Shoul said he had to jump through hoops. He first contacted Mayor David Narkewicz and was put in touch with the Northampton Health Department.
Soon, he met with a nurse for the Northampton health department and devised a plan. Shoul wanted to be sure he didn’t interfere with the vaccination process and ensure safety.
Thanks to the help of Kate Kelly, who was in charge of the clinic, Shoul was provided with a room to photograph newly vaccinated patients on May 1 and May 15. He timed them so he could get a diverse variety of ages, seeing vaccine rollout was spaced out by age.
As the idea grew, Shoul also partnered with Historic Northampton, the city’s museum and education center with which he had a long relationship.
Together, they made a flier explaining the project and release form to be handed out to patients at the clinic along with the other paperwork they received.