So Far…

How do you photograph a pandemic? At the start of the lockdown, thousands of photographers around the world, including myself, thought, “Hey! I know what I’ll do, I’ll photograph people from a distance…Lockdown Portraits!”. I did a couple, but realised the idea had become commonplace within a few days, so I looked for other ideas. Suddenly, FaceTime shoots, remote portrait sessions and images of sullen couples, captured through steamed-up windows, were everywhere. I’ve never seen so many photographic genres become cliche in such a short time. 

So, how do you photograph a pandemic? From the start, I’ve been posting images on Twitter under the title, ‘General Observations’, but Culture Vannin, who commissioned me to shoot the project, are a lot more accurate with their working title, ‘Capturing the Absences’.  – The truth is, you can’t photograph a pandemic, you can only record the effects of it. And that’s what I’ve been doing, in my own way. 

6 comments

  1. bcelasun

    >I’ve never seen so many photographic genres become cliche in such a short time.
    How true! And you end up with an adorable series of images while avoiding cliches… Thanks for continuing to inspire us..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Margaret O’Neill

    I don’t comment often, but this time I must say that I’m always in awe of your work Phil. You always show things through different eyes which I find really inspiring. I’m not a photographer, just love taking photos of travel destinations and incidents but am learning to look at things in a different way. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Phil! absolutely agree with your words. I love to see your strong series. Feels very dramatic even without (almost) existing of ppl in the frames.

    I’m photographing the changes in the world around me every single day and this pandemic also can’t stop me. I was very lucky to get permission to drive to my workplace every single day (its 30km from my village). During the complete lockdown, I used both film and digital – Ricoh GRii that as usual in my pocket and a big Hasselblad 500 for the empty scenes in my village.
    All this time I’m thinking about – what is documenting of Corona times for me. The single figures and silhouettes, these faces with new and exotic masks, the empty streets not exactly express the pandemic times but more just early morning empty streets. What is exactly the right photographed description for this period of life? I don’t know – I just continue shooting the same way as I did before.
    btw. it was nice to see you yesterday attending the live watching of the Daniel Milnor and Marc conversation.
    take care.

    Liked by 2 people

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