One of the greatest surprises about photography is how it encompasses so much of our lives. From documentary to reportage, from landscape to travel or portrait and even commercial, we interact, observe and craft imagery from those amazing pieces of life that surround us. Burk Uzzle described it well when he said, “Photography is a love affair with life.” The connotations of this quote go well beyond sentimentality and include the challenges and obstacles we face in life, especially today.
There is no question that the current situation with the COVID-19 affects our collective and individual lives in a major way. A very different rhythm of life is emerging from the current crisis.
At the moment the priority is to find a way to minimize the impact and protect lives especially of those who are at higher risk such as our parents, grandparents, friends and people with immune-compromised conditions. This is a time when we must take responsibility and do our best to protect our loved ones at all costs. It doesn’t mean we should run out to visit them—quite the opposite (for obvious reasons)—but we should make sure the procedures are in place to limit their exposure to visitors. We should also take time to provide them with everything they need. This is a time to break our daily schedule to connect with people we may have forgotten because of our professional commitments. Let’s make sure we pause and take care of each other! It doesn’t take much. It could be as simple as ensuring we wash our hands frequently. We should call our vulnerable family members and friends or simply let others know we are here for them.
There is another layer to this crisis. Due to the stoppage of most economic activities many people will be facing serious financial difficulties. Many professional and semi-professional photographers have been faced with an increasingly challenging industry even before the COVID-19 and have already found it difficult to pay their bills. In the meantime, we all face a new, much more dire reality. The consequences will be significant for large institutions and companies, but the hardest hit will be smaller organizations, independent artists and self-employed photographers as ticket sales, assignments, commercial jobs and public funding dry up. Many photographers will face an existential crisis. Therefore, it is imperative that we don’t forget about each other. Let’s make sure we continue supporting our favourite artistic organizations, artists, creators and photographers. Please make sure you visit their websites, donate to their Patron account, buy their books, products, support their podcasts, etc. It is going to be very difficult for many in the art/photographic industry.
The role of art and photography is especially important in times of crisis. During the Spanish flu pandemic, New York prioritised art and entertainment to make sure that people kept their spirits up and didn’t “go mad.” With our photography and creations, we have a role to play helping people to cope with the crisis, providing solace and visual inspiration, so important at such times. We must provide an antidote to the often-apocalyptic news. I can assure you that better times are in front of us and we will go through it together.
Enjoy the imagery below and please don’t forget to reach out to those who need our help and make sure we‘ve taken all the necessary precautions to protect those most vulnerable among us.
Stay healthy and well my friend!
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