12 Photo Essays Highlight the Heroes and Heartaches of the Pandemic

Pictures piece together a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.

photo essay during pandemic

Photos: One Year of Pandemic

Getty Images

A boy swims along the Yangtze river on June 30, 2020 in Wuhan, China.

A year has passed since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March, 11, 2020. A virus not visible to the human eye has left its mark in every corner of the world. No single image can define the loss and heartache of millions of global citizens, but photojournalists were there to document the times as best they could. From the exhaustion on the faces of frontline medical workers to vacant streets once bustling with life, here is a look back at photo essays published by U.S. News photo editors from the past year. When seen collectively, these galleries stitch together a year unlike any other.

In January of 2020, empty streets, protective masks and makeshift hospital beds became the new normal in Wuhan, a metropolis usually bustling with more people than New York City. Chinese authorities suspended flights, trains and public transportation, preventing locals from leaving the area, and placing a city of 11 million people under lockdown. The mass quarantine invokes surreal scenes and a grim forecast.

Photos: The Epicenter of Coronavirus

WUHAN, CHINA - JANUARY 31:  (CHINA OUT) A man wears a protective mask as he rides a bicycle across the Yangtze River Bridge on January 31, 2020 in Wuhan, China.  World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on January 30 that the novel coronavirus outbreak has become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).  (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)

Photojournalist Krisanne Johnson documented New Yorkers in early March of 2020, during moments of isolation as a climate of uncertainty and tension hung over the city that never sleeps.

Coronavirus in NYC Causes Uncertainty

A young man with flowers waits for the subway at theTimes Square-42nd Street Station as New Yorkers deal with the spread of the Coronavirus in Manhattan, NY on March 13, 2020.

For millions of Italians, and millions more around the globe, the confines of home became the new reality in fighting the spread of the coronavirus. Italian photojournalist Camila Ferrari offered a visual diary of intimacy within isolation.

Photos: Confined to Home in Milan

March 17, 2020 | Milan, Italy | Self portrait while working. During the day, the sun moves from one side of the apartment to the other, creating beautiful windows of light.

Around the world, we saw doctors, nurses and medical staff on the front lines in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photos: Hospitals Fighting Coronavirus

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24:  Doctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19) in set-up tents to triage possible COVID-19 patients outside before they enter the main Emergency department area at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx on March 24, 2020 in New York City. New York City has about a third of the nation’s confirmed coronavirus cases, making it the center of the outbreak in the United States. (Photo by Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

As the pandemic raged, global citizens found new ways of socializing and supporting each other. From dance classes to church services, the screen took center stage.

Photos: Staying Connected in Quarantine

NAPLES, ITALY - MARCH 13: Women during the 6pm flashmob on March 13, 2020 in Naples, Italy. The Italians met on the balconies of their homes in a sound flashmob that involved all the cities from north to south to gain strength and face the Coronavirus pandemic, reaffirming the importance of respecting government guidelines in this moment of great difficulty . In Naples in the San Ferdinando district some inhabitants of what are called in jargon "Vasci" (Bassi), small houses on the ground floor without balconies, obtained in the ancient cellars of the historic buildings, poured into the street intoning traditional Neapolitan songs with improvised tools with pots and other household utensils. (Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)

In April of 2020, photographer John Moore captured behind the scene moments of medical workers providing emergency services to patients with COVID-19 symptoms in New York City and surrounding areas.

Photos: Paramedics on the Front Lines

YONKERS, NY - APRIL 06: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY)  Medics wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), intubate a gravely ill patient with COVID-19 symptoms at his home on April 06, 2020 in Yonkers, New York. The man, 92, was barely breathing when they arrived, and they performed a rapid sequence intubation (RSI), on him before transporting him by ambulance to St. John's Riverside Hospital. The medics (L-R) are Capt. AJ Briones (paramedic) and Michelle Melo (EMT). The Empress EMS employees treat and transport patients to hospitals throughout Westchester County and parts of New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted undocumented communities that often lack unemployment protections, health insurance and at times, fear deportation.

Photos: Migrants and the Coronavirus

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - MARCH 17: Venezuelan migrants dry their clothes and things on the grass on March 17, 2020 in Bogota, Colombia. According to official reports, 65 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. Crossings to and from Venezuela were closed and travel from Europe and Asia was banned. Events of over 500 people are prohibited. (Photo by Ovidio Gonzalez/Getty Images)

Aerial views showed startlingly desolate landscapes and revealed the scale of the pandemic.

Photos: COVID-19 From Above

Aerial view of a few people still enjoying Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 20, 2020 despite the request by the State Government to avoid going to the beach or any other public areas as a measure to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. - South America's biggest country Brazil on Thursday announced it was closing its land borders to nearly all its neighbours to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state also said it would bar people from its world famous beaches including Copacabana and Ipanema. (Photo by Mauro PIMENTEL / AFP) (Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images)

With devastating death tolls, COVID-19 altered the rituals of mourning loved ones.

Photos: Final Farewells

The family of Larry Hammond wave as a line of cars with friends and family, who could not attend his funeral due to the coronavirus, pass by their home, in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Hammond was Mardi Gras royalty, and would have had more than a thousand people marching behind his casket in second-line parades. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In recognition of May Day in 2020, these portraits celebrated essential workers around the globe.

Photos: Essential Workers of the World

Renata Gajic, 45, who works at a supermarket, poses for a picture in Mladenovac, Serbia, on April 21, 2020 during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. - Ahead of May Day on May 1, 2020, AFP portrayed 55 workers defying the novel coronavirus around the world. Gajic is equipped with face masks and gloves by the supermarket and her work has not changed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Vladimir Zivojinovic / AFP) (Photo by VLADIMIR ZIVOJINOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

In May 2020, of the 10 counties with the highest death rates per capita in America, half were in rural southwest Georgia, where there are no packed apartment buildings or subways. And where you could see ambulances rushing along country roads, just fields and farms in either direction, carrying COVID-19 patients to the nearest hospital, which for some is an hour away.

Photos: In Rural Georgia, Devastation

Eddie Keith, 65, of Dawson, Ga., poses for a portrait outside of his church on Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Dawson, Ga. Keith lost his pastor to COVID-19. Keith has worked at Albritten's Funeral Service for around 35 years and was the person to retrieve his pastor. He felt like he'd lost a brother. "Why God? Why God? Why God?" Keith thought as he retrieved his pastor. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

In January of 2021, as new variants of the virus emerged, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and other vaccines led a historic global immunization rollout, offering hope.

Photos: COVID-19 Vaccinations

TOPSHOT - Health professional Raimunda Nonata, 70, is inoculated with the Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccine against COVID-19 inside her house becoming the first Quilombola (traditional Afro-descendent community member) to be vaccinated at the community Quilombo Marajupena, city of Cachoeira do Piria, Para state, Brazil, on January 19, 2021. - The community of Quilombo Marajupena, 260km far-away from Belem, capital of Para, doesn't have access to electricity. (Photo by TARSO SARRAF / AFP) (Photo by TARSO SARRAF/AFP via Getty Images)

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Tags: Coronavirus , public health , Photo Galleries , New York City , pandemic

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The Year of Endurance

Hope and uncertainty amid a pandemic that wouldn’t end.

Maria J. Hackett of Brooklyn and daughter NiNi. (Photo by Anastassia Whitty)

In 2021, the pandemic forced us all to think hard about who we do and don’t trust

Introduction by david rowell.

As a nation, we are supposed to be built around trust. Look at the back of the bills in your wallet. “In God We Trust.”

Trust the system.

Trust yourself.

Trust but verify.

Trust your instincts.

Love may be the emotion we like to think ultimately propels us, but it’s trust that informs how we go about our daily lives. And yet. Our level of trust, our very foundation, has been crumbling for a long time now. Scandals, abuse and corruption in the major pillars of our society — religious institutions, education, business, military, government, health care, law enforcement, even the sports world — have made us a wary people.

When the pandemic came, first as murmurs that were easy to tune out, then as an unbounded crisis we couldn’t tune into enough, our relationship to trust was newly infected with something we didn’t fully understand. And before long, who and what we trusted — or didn’t — in the form of elected leaders, scientists and doctors became one more cause of death here and all over the world. In this way, distrust was a kind of pandemic itself: widely contagious and passed by the mouth.

As the first American casualties of covid-19 were announced, President Trump kept insisting it would disappear “with the heat” or “at the end of the month” or “without a vaccine.” Like a disgraced, fringe science teacher, he entertained this idea at one coronavirus news conference: “I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?” With leadership like this, the country was receiving an injection — of chaos.

The pandemic ripped through the rest of 2020, and America was not only more splintered than ever, but also a dangerous place to be. Some politicians declared to the public, “I trust the science,” as if that were an unprecedented and heroic stance.

As we navigated our way into 2021, questions about what to believe led — painfully and predictably — to doubts about the most reliable way we had to stay safe: wearing masks. With the return to schools looming, the debate about masks and children — masks as protectors, or masks as educational folly — played out like a plague of rants. No one seemed to trust others to do the right thing anymore, whatever that was. By summer’s end, trust felt like the latest variant to avoid.

Trust takes lots of forms, but can we actually see it in a photograph the way we can identify a cloud or a wave, or an overt moment of joy or sadness? The photo essays that follow capture a full tableau of human responses in year two of the pandemic — trepidation, but also a sense of renewal; celebration, but caution as well. And despite rancor and confusion still being in as steady supply as the vaccine itself, the permutations of trust have their own presence here, too, if we’re open enough to seeing them.

When Jay Wescott went on tour with rock band Candlebox, he was documenting one of the many performing acts that returned to the road this summer, after the long hiatus. On tour there’s a lot variables you can control, and just as many, if not more, that you can’t — and in the time of covid, control and trust form their own essential but perilous interplay. The picture of the band’s drummer, Robin Diaz, who is vaccinated but unmasked, setting up his kit in such proximity to road manager Carlos Novais, vaccinated and masked, not only captures that still-odd dynamic that goes into making any live performance happen right now; it is also a welcome contrast to all the images of masked and unmasked protesters screaming at each other about what and whom to trust. On tour with Candlebox, Westcott observed how trust is carrying the band forward, creating harmonies on and off the stage.

Much farther away, in Michael Robinson Chavez’s pictures from Sicily, we bear witness to religious celebrations as part of saint’s days, which were canceled last year because of the pandemic. The celebrations resumed, though stripped down, this September, with vaccines readily available, but then, as Chavez notes, the people of Sicily were vaccinated at lower numbers than those in other regions of the country. In one image, we see a tuba player, his mask down below his chin as he blows his notes out into the world. Behind him are masked adults and maskless children. And, perhaps all through the festival, a trust in God to watch over them.

Lucía Vázquez trained her lens on the eager crowds of young women who descended upon Miami, a city known for its own style of carnival-type celebrations, though decidedly less holy ones. These women have left masks out of their outfits and are trusting something not quite scientific and not quite political, but more personal: their guts. Such a calculation comes down to a conviction that either you won’t get the coronavirus, or, if you do, you’ll survive. It means placing a lot of trust in yourself.

As a visual meditation, the pictures in this issue offer a portrait of a historical moment in which trust and distrust have defined us. Ultimately, the photographs that follow, reflecting various realities of the pandemic, are tinted with hope that we can reclaim our lives. Not exactly as they were in the past, but in a way that still resembles how we had once imagined them for the future. These images remind us that even in our fractured, confused and suffering world, it remains possible that where we can find trust again, we can be healed.

Ready to Rock

Unmasked fans and mayflies: on tour with the band candlebox, text and photographs by jay westcott.

I n February 2020, after a dear friend passed away (not from covid), all I could think about was getting on the road with a band so I could lose myself in the work and create something that would bring joy to people. The world had other plans, though.

Sixteen months later, I headed out on tour with Candlebox. Almost 30 years has passed since the Seattle hard-rock group released its debut album and saw it sell more than 4 million copies. Frontman Kevin Martin and his current lineup invited me along to document the first part of their tour. I packed up my gear, drove west, and met the band at Soundcheck, a rehearsal and gear storage facility in Nashville, as they prepared for the tour.

Whenever people learn that I photograph musicians, inevitably they ask me what it’s like on a tour bus. I tell people it’s like camping with your co-workers from the office where you all sleep in the same tent. For weeks on end. That sours their midlife fantasies about digging out that guitar from the garage and hitting the road to become a rock star.

The people who do tour and play music, build the sets, mix the sound, sell the merch and lug the gear night after night are some of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met. They are a special breed of artists, deep thinkers, poets, masters of their instruments. Music has the ability to make you move and stop you in your tracks, to change your mood, make you smile, cry, think. The goal is the same: Put on a great show. Every night. Play like it could be your last show.

It’s easy to sit back and armchair quarterback on social media about the risks of holding festivals and rock concerts amid the pandemic, but this is what people do for a living. Few people buy albums or CDs or even download music anymore. It’s all about streaming and grabbing viewers on social media now. Touring and merch sales are about the only way musicians have to make money these days. Music is meant to be performed in front of people, a shared experience. With everybody on the bus vaccinated and ready to go, we headed to Louisville for the first of a 49-show run.

The crowd of mostly older millennials and GenXers were ready for a rock show. They knew all the words to the hits in the set — especially Candlebox’s mega-hit from the ’90s, “Far Behind” — and were into the band’s new songs too. It felt good. Then came the mayflies, in massive swarms.

The next stop on the tour was a festival along the Mississippi River in Iowa. I was up early, and as soon as we pulled in you could see mayflies dancing in the air all around us. As the day wore on, the flies intensified, and by nightfall any kind of light revealed hundreds upon hundreds of them, dancing in their own way like the crowd of unmasked fans below them. Also there were Confederate flags everywhere. Boats tied together on the river flew Trump flags in the warm summer breeze.

I was asleep when we crossed the river and made our way to St. Louis, the third stop on the tour and my last with the band. A great crowd: Close your eyes and you can easily picture yourself at Woodstock ’94. But it’s 2021 and Kevin Martin and company are still here.

Jay Westcott is a photographer in Arlington.

‘He Gave Me Life’

A cuban single mother reflects on isolation with her son, text and photographs by natalia favre.

S ingle mother Ara Santana Romero, 30, and her 11-year-old son, Camilo, have spent the past year and a half practically isolated in their Havana apartment. Just before the pandemic started, Camilo had achieved his biggest dream, getting accepted into music school. Two weeks after classes began, the schools closed and his classes were only televised. A return to the classroom was expected for mid-November, at which point all the children were scheduled to be vaccinated. According to a UNICEF analysis, since the beginning of the pandemic, 139 million children around the world have lived under compulsory home confinement for at least nine months.

Before the pandemic, Ara had undertaken several projects organizing literary events for students. After Havana went into quarantine and Camilo had to stay home, her days consisted mainly of getting food, looking after her son and doing housework. As a single mother with no help, she has put aside her wishes and aspirations. But Ara told me she never regretted having her son: “He gave me life.”

Natalia Favre is a photographer based in Havana.

Life After War in Gaza

A healing period of picnics, weddings and vaccinations, text and photographs by salwan georges.

A s I went from Israel into the Gaza Strip, I realized I was the only person crossing the border checkpoint that day. But I immediately saw that streets were vibrant with people shopping and wending through heavy traffic. There are hardly any working traffic lights in Gaza City, so drivers wave their hands out their windows to alert others to let them pass.

Despite the liveliness, recent trauma lingered in the air: In May, Israeli airstrikes destroyed several buildings and at least 264 Palestinians died. The fighting came after thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, where at least 16 people died. Workers were still cleaning up when I visited in late August, some of them recycling rubble — such as metal from foundations — to use for rebuilding.

I visited the city of Beit Hanoun, which was heavily damaged. I met Ibrahim, whose apartment was nearly destroyed, and as I looked out from a hole in his living room, I saw children gathered to play a game. Nearby there is a sports complex next to a school. Young people were playing soccer.

Back in Gaza City, families come every night to Union Soldier Park to eat, shop and play. Children and their parents were awaiting their turn to pay for a ride on an electric bike decorated with LED lights. In another part of town, not too far away, the bazaar and the markets were filled ahead of the weekend.

The beach in Gaza City is the most popular destination for locals, particularly because the Israeli government, which occupies the territory, generally does not allow them to leave Gaza. Families picnicked in the late afternoon and then stayed to watch their kids swim until after sunset. One of the local traditions when someone gets married is to parade down the middle of a beachfront road so the groom can dance with relatives and friends.

Amid the activities, I noticed that many people were not wearing face coverings, and I learned that the coronavirus vaccination rate is low. The health department started placing posters around the city to urge vaccination and set up a weekly lottery to award money to those who get immunized.

I also attended the funeral of a boy named Omar Abu al-Nil, who was wounded by the Israeli army — probably by a bullet — during one of the frequent protests at the border. He later died at the hospital from his wounds. More than 100 people attended, mainly men. They carried Omar to the cemetery and buried him as his father watched.

Salwan Georges is a Washington Post staff photographer.

Beyond the Numbers

At home, i constructed a photo diary to show the pandemic’s human toll, text and photographs by beth galton.

I n March 2020, while the coronavirus began its universal spread, my world in New York City became my apartment. I knew that to keep safe I wouldn’t be able to access my studio, so I brought my camera home and constructed a small studio next to a window.

I began my days looking at the New York Times and The Washington Post online, hoping to find a glimmer of positive news. What I found and became obsessed with were the maps, charts and headlines, all of which were tracking the coronavirus’s spread. I printed them out to see how the disease had multiplied and moved, soon realizing that each of these little visual changes affected millions of people. With time, photographs of people who had died began to appear in the news. Grids of faces filled the screen; many died alone, without family or friends beside them.

This series reflects my emotions and thoughts through the past year and a half. By photographing data and images, combined with botanicals, my intent was to speak to the humanity of those affected by this pandemic. I used motion in the images to help convey the chaos and apprehensions we were all experiencing. I now see that this assemblage is a visual diary of my life during the pandemic.

Beth Galton is a photographer in New York.

Finding Hope in Seclusion

A self-described sickle cell warrior must stay home to keep safe, text and photographs by endia beal.

O nyekachukwu Onochie, who goes by Onyeka, is a 28-year-old African American woman born with sickle cell anemia. She describes herself as a sickle cell warrior who lives each day like it’s her last. “When I was younger,” she told me, “I thought I would live until my mid-20s because I knew other people with sickle cell that died in their 20s.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes sickle cell anemia as an inherited red blood cell disorder that causes those cells to become hard and sticky, and appear C-shaped. Healthy red blood cells are round and move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen, whereas sickle cells die earlier and transport less oxygen. The disorder can cause debilitating pain and organ failure.

In June 2020, Onyeka began preparing her body for a stem cell transplant — a new treatment — and underwent the procedure in April. She is now home in Winston-Salem, N.C., recovering from the transplant. Despite the positive results thus far, Onyeka’s immune system is compromised and she is at greater risk of severe illness or death from viruses.

I asked about her life during the pandemic. She told me: “My new normal includes video chat lunch dates. I have more energy now than ever before, but I have to stay indoors to protect myself from airborne viruses, among other things.” Onyeka believes she has been given a new life with endless possibilities — even though she is temporarily homebound.

Endia Beal is an artist based in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Baker’s Choice

A fun-loving, self-taught baker decides to open her shop despite the pandemic, text and photographs by marvin joseph.

T iffany Lightfoot is the owner and founder of My Cake Theory, where she merges her love of fashion with her gifts as a baker. Undaunted by the pandemic, she opened her first brick-and-mortar shop on Capitol Hill last year. Lightfoot, 41, combined the skills she learned as a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology with dozens of hours watching the Food Network and YouTube videos — and spun her self-taught baking into a business. With these photographs I wanted to show how much fun she has baking — while building a career she clearly loves.

Marvin Joseph is a Washington Post staff photographer.

Leap of Faith

Despite low vaccination rates, sicilians resume religious parades, text and photographs by michael robinson chavez.

T he island of Sicily has been overrun and conquered by numerous empires and civilizations. The year 2020 brought a new and deadly conqueror, the coronavirus. The lockdown was absolute — even church doors were shut tight. But in 2021, Sicilians brought life and traditions back to their streets.

Saint’s days, or festas, are important events on the Sicilian calendar. Last year, for the first time in more than a century, some towns canceled their festas. The arrival of vaccines this year seemed to offer hope that the processions would once again march down the ancient streets. However, a surge in summer tourism, while helping the local economy, also boosted the coronavirus infection rate.

Sicily has the lowest vaccination rate in Italy. Nevertheless, scaled-down celebrations have reappeared in the island’s streets. In the capital city of Palermo, residents gathered for the festa honoring the Maria della Mercede (Madonna of Mercy), which dates to the 16th century. Children were hoisted aloft to be blessed by the Virgin as a marching band played in a small piazza fronting the church that bears her name. Local bishops did not permit the normal procession because of the pandemic, so local children had their own, carrying a cardboard re-creation of the Virgin through the labyrinth of the famous Il Capo district’s narrow streets.

As the fireworks blossomed overhead and the marching band played on, it was easy to see that Sicilians were embracing a centuries-old tradition that seems certain to last for many more to come.

Michael Robinson Chavez is a Washington Post staff photographer.

Defiant Glamour

After long months of covid confinement, a fearless return to 2019 in miami beach, text and photographs by lucía vázquez.

O n Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive I’ve seen drunk girls hitting other drunk girls, and I’ve seen men high on whatever they could afford, zombie-walking with their mouths and eyes wide open amid the tourists. I’ve seen partyers sprawled on the pavement just a few feet from the Villa Casa Casuarina, the former Versace mansion.

I’ve seen groups of women wearing fake eyelashes as long and thick as a broom, and flashing miniature bras, and smoking marijuana by a palm tree in the park, next to families going to the beach. I’ve seen five girls standing on the back of a white open-air Jeep twerking in their underwear toward the street.

My photographs, taken in August, capture South Beach immersed in this untamed party mood with the menace of the delta variant as backdrop. They document young women enjoying the summer after more than a year of confinement. Traveling from around the country, they made the most of their return to social life by showing off their style and skin, wearing their boldest party attire. I was drawn to the fearlessness of their outfits and their confidence; I wanted to show how these women identify themselves and wish to be perceived, a year and a half after covid-19 changed the world.

Lucía Vázquez is a journalist and photographer based in New York and Buenos Aires.

A Giving Spirit

‘this pandemic has taught me to be even closer to my family and friends’, text and photographs by octavio jones.

M arlise Tolbert-Jones, who works part time for an air conditioning company in Tampa, spends most of her time caring for her 91-year-old father, Rudolph Tolbert, and her aunt Frances Pascoe, who is 89. Marlise visits them daily to make sure they’re eating a good breakfast and taking their medications. In addition to being a caregiver, Marlise, 57, volunteers for a local nonprofit food pantry, where she helps distribute groceries for families. Also, she volunteers at her church’s food pantry, where food is distributed every Saturday morning.

“I’m doing this because of my [late] mother, who would want me to be there for the family and the community,” she told me. “I’ve had my struggles. I’ve been down before, but God has just kept me stable and given me the strength to keep going. This pandemic has taught me to be even closer to my family and friends.”

Octavio Jones is an independent photojournalist based in Tampa.

First, people paused. Then they took stock. Then they persevered.

Text and photographs by anastassia whitty.

W e all know the pandemic has challenged people and altered daily routines. I created this photo essay to highlight the perspectives and experiences of everyday people, specifically African Americans: What does their “new normal” look like? I also wanted to demonstrate how they were able to persevere. One such person is Maria J. Hackett, 30, a Brooklyn photographer, dancer and mother of a daughter, NiNi. Both are featured on the cover.

I asked Maria her thoughts on what the pandemic has meant for her. “Quarantine opened up an opportunity to live in a way that was more healthy while taking on much-needed deep healing,” she told me. “It was my mental and emotional health that began breaking me down physically. ... I put things to a stop as my health began to deteriorate. I decided I will no longer chase money — but stay true to my art, plan and trust that things will come together in a healthier way for us. I focused more on letting my daughter guide us and on her remaining happy with her activities and social life.”

“Enrolling her in camps and classes like dance and gymnastics led me to develop a schedule and routine,” Maria explained, “opening room for me to complete my first dance residency in my return to exploration of movement. I made time to share what I know with her and what she knows with me.”

Jasmine Hamilton of Long Island, 32, talked in similiar terms. She too became more focused on mental health and fitness. She told me: “The pandemic has demonstrated that life is short and valuable, so I’m more open to creating new experiences.”

Anastassia Whitty is a photographer based in New York.

About this story

Photo editing by Dudley M. Brooks and Chloe Coleman. Design and development by Audrey Valbuena. Design editing by Suzette Moyer and Christian Font. Editing by Rich Leiby. Copy editing by Jennifer Abella and Angie Wu.

photo essay during pandemic


Photos show the first 2 years of a world transformed by COVID-19

Our photographers bore witness to the ways the world has coped—and changed—since the pandemic began.

Two years ago this month, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization formally declared a pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus . And as COVID-19 spread across the globe, humanity had little time to adapt to lockdowns and staggering losses.

Nearly six million people have died from the disease so far, a death toll that experts say barely scratches the surface of the pandemic’s true harm. Hospitals and health care workers have been pushed to the brink, debates over masking have tested our bonds, and millions of grieving families will never truly return to life as normal—if it’s even possible to go back to a time when “social distancing” was an alien concept.  

Over past two years, National Geographic has documented how the world has coped with COVID-19 through the lenses of more than 80 photographers in dozens of countries. In the frightening early days, Cédric Gerbehave’s haunting image of Belgian nurses revealed the trauma of hospitals overrun by a disease that scientists didn’t yet understand. Tamara Merino confronted the overwhelming isolation of confinement during lockdown in Chile. And Muhammad Fadli took us to the gravesite of one of the many COVID-19 victims whose bodies filled up an Indonesian cemetery.

Our photographers have also shown us how the world adapted to these challenges. Families found new ways to connect when social distancing kept us from our loved ones, and new ways to grieve when we couldn’t hold funerals. Schools from Haiti to South Korea were able to safely reopen with mask mandates, smaller classes, and exams taken outdoors. And the 2021 graduating class of Howard University found a joyous way to celebrate commencement outdoors: by dancing down the streets of Washington, D.C.

Now, as we enter the pandemic’s third year, scientists warn that it isn’t over yet. More than 10 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally—but that isn’t enough to quell the danger of future surges and even more deadly variants . Still, there’s reason to hope that we’ll finally find our way toward a new normal.

Many of these images were made with the support of the National Geographic Society's   COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists , which launched in March 2020 and funded more than 324 projects in over 70 countries. These projects revealed the social, emotional, economic, educational, and equity issues threatening livelihoods all over the world.

A doctor puts on a full-face protective mask

Physician Gerald Foret dons a full-face respirator mask before seeing COVID-19 patients at Our Lady of the Angels Hospital in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The mask was donated to the hospital when it was running low on disposable N95 masks. In the early months of the pandemic, health-care systems faced severe shortages of personal protective equipment such as face masks and disposable gloves—putting front-line workers like Foret in further jeopardy.

doctors in Dagestan, Russia tend to a newborn baby

A baby is born at the only maternity hospital in Dagestan, Russia. Located on the southernmost tip of Russia along the Caspian Sea, the Muslim-majority republic suffered a catastrophic surge of coronavirus deaths in the spring of 2020. The losses in Dagestan raised questions about whether the Russian government was obscuring the pandemic’s true death toll.

doctors in Peru tend to a patient suffering from Covid-19

Alfonso Sellano, age 64, battles COVID-19 while his wife and a nurse tend to him in Espinar, Peru. As of March 2022, the country has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world , which experts say can be attributed to the country’s weak health-care system and pervasive social inequalities that make it difficult for marginalized people to protect themselves from the virus. For instance, many had to continue commuting to work even during lockdown in order to provide for their families.

a healthcare worker shows lines on his face from wearing a mask

Hours of work in a protective mask leave a transient scar down the face of Yves Bouckaert, the chief intensive care unit physician at Tivoli Hospital in La Louvière, Belgium.  


Ghislaine, a nurse in the geriatric ward at the same hospital, poses for a portrait with a tear running down her cheek. These photos were taken during the third wave of COVID-19, which triggered a new round of lockdowns in March 2021.

healthcare workers in Belgium take a break during a shift tending to Covid-19 patients

In Mons, Belgium, nursing colleagues take brief refuge in a shift break and each other’s company. Like medical facilities around the world, Belgian hospitals were initially overwhelmed by the rush of patients with a virulent new disease. These nurses, pulled from their standard duties, were thrown into full-time COVID-19 work—reinforcement troops for a long, exhausting battle.

Residents have their temperature checked by community health worker in Nairobi, Kenya

COVID-19 has posed a particularly grave threat to Africa’s informal urban settlements —communities with high poverty rates where millions of people live in close quarters and often do not have access to clean water or toilets. In Nairobi, Kenya, residents of the Kibera informal settlement have their temperature checked by community health workers at a station set up by Shining Hope for Communities on March 26, 2020.

a home healthcare worker tends to a sick patient in Washington, United States

Home health-care worker Delores Jetton bathes her client Jean Robbins in a sunlit bedroom. “She is slow and prayerful as she bathes each person, washing with warm water and a touch that is so appreciated by these elders, who often face pain and fear at the end of life,” writes photographer Lynn Johnson. “As the bath progresses, one can see Robbins literally surrender to the touch.”  

Even with the availability of effective vaccines, people over 65 remain at high risk of dying from COVID-19 . Many have been told to stay home rather than visit health clinics in person—causing a significant rise in demand for home health workers, who have often found themselves stretched to exhaustion in these past two years.

a body of a Covid-19 patient is wrapped in plastic in Jakarta, Indonesia

The mummified body of a COVID-19 victim lies on the patient’s deathbed awaiting a bodybag in Jakarta, Indonesia. It took two nurses about an hour to wrap the patient in plastic—a measure intended to keep the coronavirus from spreading. Indonesians were shocked when they saw this image, which humanizes the losses of COVID-19 and horror of death from the disease.

“It’s clear that the power of this image has galvanized discussion about coronavirus,” photographer Joshua Irwandi told National Geographic in July 2020 . “We have to recognize the sacrifice, and the risk, that the doctors and nurses are making.”

burial wokers conduct a prayer over a Covid-19 victim in Bangladesh

At the Rayer Bazar graveyard in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Farid conducts the janazah , an Islamic funeral prayer, for a COVID-19 victim and his relatives attending the burial. Bangladesh designated the cemetery as its official burial place for COVID-19 victims in April 2020.

a girl walks past a casket in Peru

Defying Peruvian government protocols, the Shipibo-Konibo have organized illegal mourning and funerals during the pandemic to honor their dead as their tradition dictates. At the funeral of Milena Canayo, who died in July 2020 with symptoms of COVID-19, her 9-year-old daughter lights a candle before taking refuge at home. Shipibo-Konibo people live in the Amazon rainforest of Peru, including in cities like Pucallpa where Milena's funeral was held. But she was not treated at the local hospital—Ronald Suarez, head of the organization Coshikox, says the health and welfare of Indigenous people is always the last to be considered.  

Workers from a funeral home in Huancavelica wait until the end of a service to move a coffin into a grave at a city cemetery in April 2021. Much like the rest of the country, this city in central Peru has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

a family closes the casket of a family member who died

After keeping their social distance during the New York City funeral of Annie Lewis, family members draw together around the casket to say a final goodbye. In the United States, COVID-19 has been particularly devastating for low-income communities of color. As photographer Ruddy Roye told National Geographic , “The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the divisions in our city.”

family members visit a family members grave in Indonesia

Relatives visit a loved one’s fresh grave at Rorotan Public Cemetery in Cilincing, North Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 21, 2021. The cemetery, which is dedicated to COVID-19 victims, opened in March. Even though it can hold up to 7,200 people, the cemetery filled up fast during the surge in cases caused by the Delta variant—which made Indonesia an epicenter of the pandemic. In response, Jakarta's government planned to add more land to the 25-hectare cemetery.

a woman cries mourning her husbands death in Detroit

Elaine Fields, with her daughter Etana Fields-Purdy, stand close to her husband's gravesite at the Elmwood Cemetary in Detroit, on June 14, 2020. Eddie Fields, a retired General Motors plant worker, had died from COVID-19 complications in April. "It's hard because we haven't been able to mourn,” Elaine told photographer Wayne Lawrence . “We weren't able to be with him or have a funeral, so our mourning has been stunted."

Detroit journalist Biba Adams stands for a portrait at her home with daughter Maria Williams and granddaughter Gia Williams in Detroit on June 10, 2020. Adams lost her mother, grandmother, and aunt to the coronavirus. “To lose one’s mother is one thing,” Adams said in late July 2020 , when U.S. pandemic death totals were pushing past 150,000. “To lose her as one of 150,000 people is even more painful. I don’t want her to just be a number. She had dreams, things she still wanted to do. She was a person. And I am going to lift her name up.”

family members mourn the loss of their brother in England

Family members place flowers atop the coffin of Eric Hallett, 76, just before a hearse carries his body to the crematorium in Crewkerne, England, on May 4, 2020. Pandemic safety protocols forced the crematorium to limit the number of mourners at each funeral. Instead, Hallett’s loved ones lined the streets to wave goodbye.

two sisters posse for a virtual potrait

Sisters Dana Cobbs and Darcey Cobbs-Lomax lost both their father and paternal grandmother to COVID-19 in April 2020. Evelyn Cobbs was rushed to the hospital in ambulances just one day after her son Morgan—and the two died within a week of one another. Photographer Celeste Sloman took this virtual portrait of the sisters, who had to say goodbye to their loved ones from a distance due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

hundreds of thousands of white flags adorn the National Mall to represent the American lives lost to Covid-19

White flags planted on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. represent each of the American lives lost to COVID-19. When the art installation opened in September 2021, the country had surpassed 670,000 deaths. For more than 30 hours, photographer and National Geographic Explorer Stephen Wilkes watched people move through the sea of white flags , capturing individuals as they grappled with the enormity of loss. Wilkes took 4,882 photographs of the exhibit, then blended them into a single composite image as part of his Day to Night series.

people attend mass in Alabama

Kristiana Nicole Bell attends a candlelight vigil at St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church in Foley, Alabama, where she was baptized later that evening. The service, held the night before Easter Sunday, was led in both English and Spanish by Father Paul Zohgby. He decided about eight years ago that it was important to learn Spanish so he could welcome and minister to the community’s growing Latino immigrant population. Zohgby told photographer Natalie Keyssar that he was elated to rejoin his congregation in person after spending eight days in the hospital with severe COVID-19.

a healthcare worker reads someones temperature through a hotel room door during quarantine in China

Quarantined for two weeks after traveling from Belgium to Shanghai, Justin Jin reads out his temperature to a medic on the other side of his closed hotel door. The picture was taken through the door’s peephole. Jin made the arduous journey to see his father, who just had surgery.

a couple looks outside their window during quarantine in Malaysia

Photographer Ian Teh spends much of his working life on the road—so the pandemic allowed him to stay home with his wife, Chloe Lim, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “My partner and I are lucky that both our families are safe,” he says. “The pandemic has been an opportunity for us to connect with our loved ones, virtually.” He took this self-portrait of the couple in a favorite spot in their apartment, looking out on nearby houses and greenery. “It’s peaceful,” he says.

rain falls in Argentina

Heavy rain falls on Buenos Aires, Argentina, on April 27, 2020. Argentina entered a full lockdown on March 20 that endured more than four months. Feeling trapped, and still recovering from a miscarriage, photographer Sarah Pabst picked up her camera to document her pandemic experiences. The result: Morning Song , a project that uses photography to explore motherhood, love, and loss, and our connection with nature.

a couple poses for a portrait taken through their window in Italy

Greta Tanini and Cristoforo Lippi decided to take advantage of Italy's quarantine lockdown—to regard their enforced time together as a new exploration of their relationship. They divided up domestic tasks—including shopping, cleaning, and tidying up—and limited their social interaction to chatting with neighbors at a safe distance so as not to spread the virus.

the closed Apollo Theater in New York City

The Apollo Theater has been a Harlem landmark since the 1930s, when it helped propel music genres such as jazz, R & B, and the blues into the American mainstream. The Apollo was one of New York City’s many historic entertainment venues that closed in early 2020 to stem the spread of COVID-19. It remained shuttered for a year and a half—and finally returned, to much excitement, in August 2021.

an empty museum in Milan, Italy

In spring 2020, sculptor Antonio Canova's The Three Graces (1812-1817) stand alone in the rotunda of Milan’s Galleria d’Italia. COVID-19 lockdowns forced museums across Europe to close their door for months— sparking fears that the loss of revenue might keep them permanently closed. By June, however, some museums began to reopen with limited numbers of visitors, temperature checks, and socially distant experiences.

a photographer takes a self portrait with a face shield on

Photographer Mariceu Erthal took this self-portrait in July 2020 during her first visit to the sea after being confined at home by COVID-19 lockdowns. She says the experience “brought me peace of mind and allowed me to observe the sadness and anxieties I had inside.”

a woman takes a self portrait in a hospital before giving birth in California

Photographer Bethany Mollenkof found out she was pregnant three months before COVID-19 shut down swaths of the United States. She began to document her own experiences during quarantine in Los Angeles—from her first ultrasound, which her husband had to watch from the parking lot over FaceTime, to childbirth. Although Mollenkof had hoped for a natural birth, she decided to deliver in a hospital in case of complications—which proved the right choice. After her water broke, her contractions did not start, and ultimately labor was induced to keep the baby safe.

  “I thought about my friends, my community, and what it would feel like to become new parents in isolation—to not have people around us to help, people who years later could tell our daughter that they’d held her when she was a few days old,” Mollenkof wrote in a photo essay for National Geographic . “But I also thought about women throughout history, women who have survived wars, pandemics, miscarriages. Their resilience guided me.”

a woman holding her newborn baby after giving birth at home

Exhausted after giving birth to her daughter, Suzette, Kim Bonsignore lies in the birthing pool in her living room on April 20, 2020, in New York City. Instead of having her baby in the hospital as planned, the Bonsignores decided to have their second child at home when they learned that family members would not be allowed in the delivery room because of COVID-19 restrictions.

a nurse in Russia holds flowers for a patient in Moscow

In Moscow, a nurse wearing a hazmat suit holds a bouquet of flowers for at Hospital No. 52 on March 9, 2020—or Victory Day. Russia’s most important national holiday commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. Although celebrations were more subdued because of the pandemic, the hospital arranged a small tribute for veterans and their families under treatment.

Photographer Tamara Merino took this self-portrait with her son Ikal on the first day of total isolation in Santiago, Chile. “The confinement feels stronger and more overwhelming when someone imposes it on you,” she wrote. “When we have freedom over our actions, and we decide to stay home, we still feel free. Not anymore.”

people seen through a heat sensor to detect temperatures in Argentina

Image of customers seen through a thermal scanner at the entrance of a supermarket in Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The vast majority of food on the island is imported, and shopping is centralized in big supermarket chains—creating a challenge for social distancing. During lockdown, thermal scanners were placed in the supermarkets to take the temperature of incoming customers. Customers with elevated temperatures were sent home.

girls stand in line maintaining social distance in Kenya

Girls form a socially distant queue to take a shower at a facility in Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. Most residents in the community do not have access to indoor plumbing, so a local organization provided free water to help prevent the spread of coronavirus by helping people maintain their personal hygiene.

a person sprays disinfectant on thee street in Istanbul

An Istanbul city employee disinfects the streets of Beyoglu on April 14, 2020. Typically bustling with tourists intent on sampling its historic winehouses, museums, nightclubs and shops, the neighborhood fell quiet at the start of the pandemic. Many cities initially tried   to curb the spread of the coronavirus by spraying their walkways with disinfectant—a practice that the World Health Organization ultimately recommended against , as the chemicals were likely to harm people’s health.

migrants climb onto the back of a truck in India

Migrants climb onto a truck which will take them toward their village on the outskirts of Lucknow, India, on May 6, 2020. When the Indian government announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24, it requested that people stay put, wherever they were. But that created a shortage of food for the huge migrant population in cities—so, after much deliberation and implementation of new public safety measures, state governments coordinated efforts to transport the migrants to their homes on special trains.

students attend class wearing masks in an elementary school in Indonesia

Students resume in-person classes at Elementary School No. 1 in Jakarta, Indonesia. More than 600 schools across the city reopened on a limited basis in fall 2021, offering face-to-face classes three days a week with strict health protocols in place. Schools also restricted the number of students who could attend in person, with half of each class still learning from home via video conference. Nadiem Makarim, the Indonesian minister of education, pushed for a return to classrooms, telling parliament that COVID-19 lockdowns caused “learning losses that have permanent impacts.”

a worker hands out masks to children in a school in Haiti

In a Pétion-Ville high school, a student distributes handmade masks to his classmates before classes begin. The pandemic disrupted education for children everywhere—but the crisis was particularly dire in Haiti, where students have also suffered gaps in their education as a result of social unrest and natural disasters. The Caribbean nation reopened many of its schools in August 2020 with public health measures like masking in place.

people take an exam outside in Korea

Aspiring insurance agents sit for their qualification exams at desks spread apart on a soccer field in South Korea on April 25, 2020. The Korea Life Insurance Association and the General Insurance Association of Korea were among the many public and private institutions that introduced socially distanced exams during the pandemic. It was a very windy day, but more than 18,000 people across Korea took the insurance agent exam—happy that they had resumed after a hiatus of more than two months.

siblings help each other with schoolwork in Nairobi during Covid-19

Eighteen-year-old Stephen Onyango (center) teaches his brothers Collins and Gavan while their sister Genevieve Akinyi watches at their home in Kibera. They hadn't been to class since the Kenyan government closed all schools in the country in mid-March to curb the spread of COVID-19. Stephen told photographer Brian Otieno that his teacher suggested an app he could use to teach his siblings. “It's my responsibility to ensure that my brothers are at home studying now that coronavirus is here with us and we don't know when this will end,” he said. Kenya reopened schools in January 2021, even as the pandemic continued to spread.

recent graduates from Howard University dance in the streets in Washington DC

Members of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity gather for an impromptu step dance after Howard University's commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., on May 8, 2021. Only undergraduate students were allowed to attend the outdoor, in-person ceremony held at the university’s stadium. Friends and family scattered around outside of the stadium instead.  

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“As I was bouncing around campus, I started to think about how much the students had been through the past year and how this particular moment must feel for them,” said photographer Jared Soares. “To be able to witness the students' jubilation was a huge privilege, and even more meaningful based on the circumstances that we as a community had to endure the past year and a half.”

people relax in a park in Seoul

Seoulites lounge on picnic mats in the grass at Ttukseom Hangang Park on a late summer weekend in 2021. Located under ring-shaped entry and exit ramps leading to a bridge and an expressway, the park is a popular gathering spot for young and old alike.

people attend a recording of the show Afghan Star in Kabul

Nadia, one of the hosts of the talent quest TV show Afghan Star , interviews masked young women at a taping on February 18, 2021. As the Taliban moved to retake national control, Afghan Star ’s cast and crew came under serious threat—judges and participants had to stay at a safe house with armed security guards and blast walls until the end of the season. Kabul fell to the Taliban six months after this photograph was taken, leaving an uncertain future for Afghan women .

party goers attend a club in Berlin

Berlin partygoers share a moment In a hallway of the Ritter Butzke, a venerable electronic music clubs, on August 28, 2021. Recently government-designated a German cultural institution, the Ritter Butzke—like other clubs with open air spaces— was approved last summer for public reopening . Some pandemic rules still apply: signs at the club urge patrons to wear masks and refrain from drinking on the dance floor.

members of an orchestra in Venezuela play a concert outside

Members of the Orquesta Sinfónica Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho play music from their new album, Sinfonía Desordenada (Disorderly Symphony), during an open-air performance on November 12, 2021 in Caracas, Venezuela. The album was recorded during the pandemic lockdown by 75 musicians who blended elements of classical music with Afro-Caribbean rhythms.

a boy flies a kite on his rooftop in Amman, Jordan

A boy flies his kite during lockdown in Amman, Jordan, in April 2020. For a few days in March, the government had imposed even tighter restrictions—shutting down nearly everything and instituting a 24-hour curfew backed up by tanks and army trucks, with no exceptions even to get food and medicine.  

Amman is built on hills, and from his kitchen, photographer Moises Saman could hear the echoes of citywide sirens, the kind used for air raid warnings. He stayed inside with his family until the curfews began to ease. Then he went to find the places where refugees live, including the neighborhood where this photograph was taken. Despite fears that their crowded settlements and neighborhoods would lead to uncontainable spread of COVID-19, Jordan's strict lockdown kept the pandemic at bay during its early months. But as lockdown measures eased, cases began to surge by the fall —a warning to all countries to remain vigilant.

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photo essay during pandemic

John Moore/Getty Images

The defining photos of the pandemic — and the stories behind them

Updated September 20, 2021

It was a harrowing scene.

A 92-year-old man was barely breathing and had extremely low oxygen levels, and emergency medical technicians wanted to intubate him right there at his home in Yonkers, New York.

It was April 2020, near the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the man was showing all the symptoms of the disease.

“The man's family, who was there, agreed to the procedure, and they also said that I could stay and photograph as EMTs worked to save his life,” remembers John Moore , a Getty Images photographer.

Moore, who like the EMTs was decked out in personal protective equipment, kept out of their way as he tried to respectfully take photos of the life-threatening situation. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a happy ending. The family told Moore the man died in the ICU a couple of weeks later.

Moore also spent time with emergency medical workers in Stamford, Connecticut, documenting their lives as they worked extremely long hours in the early days of the pandemic.

“After 9/11, firefighters were America’s heroes as first responders. This time, it’s EMS and hospital workers,” Moore said. “I think it’s important to give credit where it’s due and, for me as a photojournalist, to show the importance of their work.”

As the pandemic stretches into a second year, we look back at some of the most memorable photos that have been taken around the world. In these images, we see sorrow, pain and desperation. But we also see love, sacrifice and resilience.

photo essay during pandemic

Children wear plastic bottles as makeshift masks while waiting to check in to a flight at the Beijing Capital Airport in January 2020.

“I took this photograph during the early days when we knew so little about what the virus really was,” photographer Kevin Frayer said. “Many people were leaving China and I went to the airport, which at the time was filled with anxiety and fear. Masks and (personal protective equipment) were hard to get a hold of, and people were wearing ski goggles and plastic garbage bags, among other things. I remember feeling confused and disturbed by the ambiance.

“I spotted this family waiting to enter the security area and noticed that they were wearing water bottles on their heads. I took a few frames but felt uneasy about the scene, which seemed so strange. The parents were doing anything possible to protect their kids.”

photo essay during pandemic

Living quarters are lit up at the Copan Building, a residential building in São Paulo, Brazil, in March 2020.

Many of the residents were about to take part in a protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the pandemic. Many people across the city expressed their displeasure by banging pots and pans from their windows.

“The Copan Building is one of the cultural and tourist symbols of the city of São Paulo where more than 2,000 people live,” photographer Victor Moriyama said. “I went to the house of a friend whose view was facing the back of Copan and got ready to photograph the windows at the time of the protests, around 8 p.m. The sound of banging pots was insurmountable.”

photo essay during pandemic

Lori Spencer visits her mother, 81-year-old Judie Shape, at the Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, in March 2020. The facility became an early epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, and Shape was among those who tested positive. She has since recovered.

"Covering the Covid-19 outbreak for Reuters at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the first known nursing home outbreak in the nation, I realized the heartbreaking danger of patients dying alone, separated from family and loved ones,” photographer Jason Redmond said. “I was truly moved by the courage of Judie Shape, daughter Lori Spencer and her husband Michael Spencer. Witnessing their dedication and support truly moved me. I am forever grateful for Shape and all those affected by the pandemic for allowing us to document and share their journey in these difficult times.”

photo essay during pandemic

A customer pushes her shopping cart next to empty shelves at a Sainsbury's store in Harpenden, England, in March 2020.

The photo was taken two days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Britons to stop all nonessential travel.

“There were rumors that a national lockdown would occur, which did in fact take place a few days later, with orders for everyone to stay at home,” remembers photographer Peter Cziborra. “There was a sense of panic amongst many people, and I was hearing stories of supermarkets and grocery stores being stripped of all their produce and empty shelves becoming widespread.

“I arrived at the supermarket and the whole store was almost empty of products, with only the odd item remaining on shelves. The shoppers were walking around almost in a daze. There was a sense of disbelief, and it felt eerily quiet as people walked around with empty trolleys and baskets.”

photo essay during pandemic

Dana Baer and her son Jacob wish Avery Slutsky a happy sixth birthday from their car in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan, in March 2020. The drive-by birthday celebration was held to maintain social distancing.

“It was the last week of March when the statewide stay-at-home-order in Michigan was set in place, and we had just begun adapting to socially distanced interactions,” photographer Emily Elconin said. “This was the first time I had ever seen anything like this — a concept that at first was hard to wrap my head around.

“I asked myself, how long would this go on for? It was my second week back in Michigan after living in Virginia for a year, and what once felt like a familiar place all of a sudden felt very different. I soon realized that this moment was a small indication of what our world would face and learn to adapt.”

photo essay during pandemic

Paolo Miranda took this heartbreaking image of a nurse in Cremona, Italy, as the country’s health care system was being severely tested in March 2020. Miranda also works as a nurse in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

“When I understood the gravity of the situation, I began to document through photography what we were experiencing inside the hospitals, to warn other countries of what was about to happen,” Miranda said. “I believe my photos were the first photos to come out of intensive care.”

He said it hurts to think about those moments, and he still feels angry and frustrated “because after a year, we are still in bad shape.”

photo essay during pandemic

Opera singer Stephane Senechal sings for his neighbors from his apartment window in Paris in March 2020. It was the 10th day of a strict lockdown in France.

Senechal also sang from his apartment during a second lockdown later in the year.

"Here, at my window, it's stronger than the opera because I'm not playing a role, I'm myself," he told the Reuters news agency.

photo essay during pandemic

The body of a suspected coronavirus victim is wrapped in plastic in an Indonesian hospital in April 2020. Indonesia government protocols required the bodies of Covid-19 victims to be wrapped in plastic and buried quickly.

"After the image was published by National Geographic, the image went viral, sparked denial and uproar across social media,” photographer Joshua Irwandi said. “Many who saw the image declared it to be a setup intended to spread fear.

“Based on the reaction towards the photograph on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, what stood out was how polarized people’s opinions were regarding the pandemic. At the beginning, people were supportive, people were posting #stayathome all over social media and trying to be supportive. However, attitudes slowly changed when social restrictions came in place and the economy suffered.”

photo essay during pandemic

Ballet dancer Ashlee Montague wears a gas mask while she dances in New York’s Times Square in March 2020.

“Tourists had gone back to where they came from, and most New Yorkers were staying at home, which left typically crowded places, like Times Square, almost empty,” photographer Andrew Kelly remembers. “It felt like the only people who were down there were people to see such a site. It felt like we were the last people left on Earth.

“It did attract some people trying to get their once-in-a-lifetime shots. People would stand in the middle of the street and take photos as the road remained mostly empty.

“Then I saw Ashlee enter the street. She started dancing and was doing an art project with her friend Laura Kimmel, a photographer in New York. They had been hitting a lot of iconic spots for the project and just so happened to be in Times Square when I was. A lot of people stood around taking photos as Ashlee danced away.”

photo essay during pandemic

Alessio Paduano has been documenting the pandemic in Italy, which was one of the earliest and most deadliest hot spots for Covid-19. During the country’s lockdown last year, he spent time with many essential workers, including doctors and nurses.

One of his most vivid memories is from an April 2020 funeral in Locate Bergamasco, a small village in the province of Bergamo.

In one of the photos above, a man and a woman watch a funeral worker move the coffin of their 47-year-old son.

“Obviously before I could take pictures, I had to ask permission from family members. It was a very intimate moment that not everyone wants to share with an outsider,” Paduano recalled. “The relatives were in pain. As soon as the opportunity arose, I approached the dead person's father, explaining the reason for my presence and that I wanted to tell that event with my photos.

“His response, despite the immense pain he was feeling, was immediately positive and of a disarming kindness. He understood the importance of showing others what was happening in Italy. … I don't know if that man will ever read this testimony of mine, but I hope someday he will know that I have great admiration for him.”

photo essay during pandemic

On Thanksgiving in 2020, Dr. Joseph Varon comforts a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston. Texas was the first state to pass 1 million coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

"As I'm going inside my Covid unit I see that this elderly patient is out of his bed and trying to get out of the room and he's crying,” Varon said. “So, I get close to him and I tell him 'why are you crying' and the man says, 'I want to be with my wife.’ ”

Varon said the man would not be able to see his wife until he tested negative on his swabs and could be discharged. He tested negative about two weeks later, said photographer Go Nakamura .

Nakamura remembers Varon holding the patient for three or four minutes before he calmed down.

“I am glad that I was able to capture the doctor's compassion, and how hard it is mentally for patients to spend a long time stuck in a room without seeing their loved ones,” Nakamura said.

“Patients spend months in the Covid-19 ward only seeing nurses, doctors and other medical professionals who are covered in full (personal protective equipment). It was a very difficult scene to capture.”

photo essay during pandemic

A beach in Bournemouth, England, is packed with people during a heat wave in June 2020. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson began easing coronavirus restrictions in May 2020, but people were still supposed to be distancing themselves from one another. After thousands flocked to beaches, officials in southern England declared a "major incident.”

“It was like a lid had come off a pressure cooker with so many people from London coming down,” photographer Finnbarr Webster remembers. “Normally the beach has a real family-friendly feel to it. But on that day it felt the opposite with thousands of mostly young city people, which gave it an almost aggressive party atmosphere.”

photo essay during pandemic

Giuseppe Corbari holds Sunday Mass in front of photographs that were sent in by his congregation members in Giussano, Italy, in March 2020.

“He received more than 100 photos from his parishioners, which he then printed and stuck to the empty pews of the church to feel less alone while broadcasting Mass over the parish radio,” photographer Piero Cruciatti said.

About a year later, Cruciatti went back to the church.

“This time the church was full of people, all socially distanced and wearing masks,” he said. “I recognized some of them from the pictures I had seen taped to the benches. It was very emotional to see the same church full of people, and I have been told by many of them how happy and grateful they were for being allowed to be physically part of the communal life again.”

photo essay during pandemic

Elementary school students sit at desks spaced apart in Løgumkloster, Denmark, in April 2020. Denmark was the first country in the Western world to reopen its elementary schools since the start of the pandemic.

Photographer Emile Ducke visited the school on its second day back.

“Before children entered the school building, they were being playfully introduced to social distancing by two teachers with 2-meter-long ropes,” Ducke recalled. “During lessons, as pictured, the children sat at desks spaced about 2 yards apart. Even recess was not the same, as children checked their distancing in a line to go back inside and then washed their hands before returning to class.”

According to UNESCO, nearly 1.3 billion students around the world had their school year suddenly interrupted because of the pandemic. Many of those students, stuck at home, began trying to navigate distance learning as teachers switched to virtual classrooms.

Some schools have reopened, but many have not. And those attending school in person have new safety protocols to follow.

photo essay during pandemic

People in Toronto participate in an outdoor yoga class in June 2020.

“As Covid-19 measures gradually loosened and the weather warmed last spring, people in Toronto began to emerge from their homes looking for some semblance of ‘normal,’ ” photographer Carlos Osorio said. “Summer in the city was characterized by being outside. Patio get-togethers, drive-in concerts and bubble yoga, which emerged in Toronto in June, were among the ways people escaped the four walls of their homes.”

Osorio remembers it being hot inside the domes.

“Truly hot yoga,” he said. “The participants, who seemed to be mostly die-hard yoga fans, were ecstatic for a chance to practice among others in the community.”

photo essay during pandemic

Jessica Holguin, left, comforts her younger sister Natalie at the viewing service for their father, Jose, in New York City. Jose Holguin, 50, died in May 2020 of complications related to Covid-19.

“I had a lot of images of people gathered by Jose’s body that day, but something about this frame, that features no coffin or body, really hits you in the gut. It’s pure grief,” photographer Andrew Kelly said.

Jessica and Natalie welcomed him to the funeral, explaining that it was important to them to not only highlight what Covid-19 was doing to families such as their own, but to the Hispanic community as well.

“It was incredibly brave for Jessica and Natalie to let me in and document the worst moment of their lives in order for a greater good,” Kelly said. “I’m not sure I could do it myself. I like to think that there are people to this day who saw this image and, thinking of their own family, remembered to wear a mask as they left the house. Maybe without even knowing it, they avoided contracting coronavirus and denied their family the same fate that the Holguins had to suffer.”

photo essay during pandemic

Mountain goats roam the quiet streets of Llandudno, Wales, in March 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic left empty spaces everywhere as people stayed at home and avoided crowds to slow the spread of the virus. With less human traffic, emboldened animals started exploring areas where we are not always used to seeing them.

“At a time of the world seeing images of death and the fallout of coronavirus, this was like a weird good-news story: animals reinheriting the Earth in the chaos of that early lockdown period,” photographer Christopher Furlong said. “At the time, I was mainly just documenting the emptiness, taking photos of empty streets, empty beaches, empty parks. Getting to photograph those ebullient goats definitely made for a few smiles and a nice break from the monotony of those bleak days.”

photo essay during pandemic

In May 2020, Themba Hadebe photographed people as they lined up to receive food donations at the Iterileng settlement near Laudium, South Africa.

Many African countries introduced lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic, but those lockdowns also aggravated existing inequalities.

For example, after a lockdown that started in late March 2020, South Africa announced a $26 billion Covid-19 stimulus package. But undocumented migrant workers were not eligible for unemployment insurance or government grants.

When he took this photo, Hadebe remembers the desperation of the community. “I was overwhelmed and surprised by the number of people that were already queuing on a dusty soccer field,” he said. “That, for me, was the effect or the face of ruthless Covid-19.”

photo essay during pandemic

A woman’s reflection is seen as she looks at a coffin in a Milan, Italy, mortuary in March 2020. Italy was put under a dramatic total lockdown as Covid-19 spread in the country.

“The streets were empty and the hospitals were full, and within days even the cemeteries began to run out of places,” remembers photographer Gabriele Galimberti. “That day I went to the municipal cemetery in Milan, I wanted to see with my own eyes what the situation was.

“As soon as I entered I came across this scene. A woman was looking at a coffin through a protective glass. In the coffin was the body of a foreign man who was waiting to be transported to the airport to be repatriated to his country. On that day, Italy already had 890 dead. It already seemed like a lot and everyone found it hard to believe. Today, one year later, the number of dead has exceeded 100,000.”

photo essay during pandemic

Timothy Fadek had been documenting New York City since its lockdown — the longest in the country — started in April 2020 and ended in June 2020.

He remembers how eerie it was to see his bustling city transformed into a ghost town. Coney Island was deserted. Fleets of taxis went unused.

“All you heard were ambulance sirens constantly, especially at the peak, and that was in the midst of a desolate street landscape where there were no cars,” Fadek said.

There was also the nightly acknowledgement of health care workers, when people would go to their windows or open their doors to cheer or make noise to show their appreciation.

One of Fadek’s photos above shows bodies at a Queens funeral home waiting to be transported for cremation.

“The funeral directors and embalmers at the Gerard J. Neufeld Funeral Home were working 18-hour days trying to keep up with the onslaught of Covid-19 fatalities coming through their doors,” he said. “At the height of the pandemic, they managed more than 30 burials or cremations a day. Before the pandemic, they would manage that number of deceased in a typical month.”

photo essay during pandemic

Pope Francis delivers his blessing to an empty St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in March 2020. To try to slow the spread of the virus, people were being asked to avoid crowds and limit their travel. Many governments issued stay-at-home orders. It left behind an eerie emptiness.

"In this situation of pandemic, in which we find ourselves living more or less isolated, we are invited to rediscover and deepen the value of the communion that unites all the members of the Church," the Pope said in his remarks after the Angelus prayer, which was livestreamed by Vatican News.

photo essay during pandemic

Because of the pandemic, Business Breakthrough University in Tokyo held a virtual graduation ceremony using robots in March 2020.

The graduates watched their ceremony through their robot's point of view.

Schools around the world have had to get creative with their graduation ceremonies. Many have been held in empty auditoriums or in parking lots with students in their vehicles.

photo essay during pandemic

A nurse adjusts a face shield on a newborn baby at a hospital in Thailand's Samut Prakan province in April 2020.

The Paolo Hospital said on Facebook that it was giving out face shields for the babies’ trip home with their parents. It was not supposed to be worn all the time.

It was one of several Thai hospitals crafting face shields for babies as an extra precaution against Covid-19.

photo essay during pandemic

A man waits for the body of his aunt Lucia Rodrigues dos Santos to be collected in Manaus, Brazil, in May 2020.

The 60-year-old matriarch died from Covid-19, according to photographer André Coelho, who was following a team that was gathering bodies in Manaus and helping low-income families hold burials.

“At a certain moment, the team guys went to the van to bring the casket and I was left alone in the room with a nephew who was mourning,” Coelho said.

Coelho remembers Raimundo, Lucia’s husband, asking to give his wife a farewell kiss as her body was carried away.

“Outside, the crowd was bigger and I heard some neighbors screaming,” Coelho recalled.

photo essay during pandemic

People wait in their cars for the San Antonio Food Bank to begin distributing food in April 2020. The coronavirus pandemic put millions of Americans out of work, and more and more families had to turn to food banks to get by.

William Luther, a staff photographer with the San Antonio Express-News, used a drone to get this shot.

“Even after covering my share of natural disasters, I had never seen so many people lined up for food,” he explained in a Q&A the newspaper published. “I try not to get too emotionally involved while on assignment, but seeing all those cars made me realize how important it was for me to do my absolute best documenting the scene so people would understand how dire the situation was.”

photo essay during pandemic

Members of the National Guard disinfect surfaces at a Jewish Community Center in Scarsdale, New York, in March 2020.

Officials in Westchester County had set up a “containment area” to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the area.

Photographer Andrew Seng recalled this as “really the beginning of the pandemic” in the state of New York.

“There was a lot of fear, and everyone was just figuring it out as we went along,” he said. “I had covered natural disasters before — wildfires and floods — but to photograph an enemy you couldn’t see just felt more sinister.”

photo essay during pandemic

Unclaimed bodies are buried on Hart Island, a New York City public cemetery, in April 2020. For a short while, New York was the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak.

Photographer Lucas Jackson took this photo just weeks after he contracted Covid-19 himself.

“In the time between contracting the disease and being back at work to take this photograph, the ramifications of the pandemic's spread in New York had very viscerally changed from theoretical to frighteningly real,” he recalled. “For several weeks after discovering I was positive, I was quarantined at home, glued to the constant stream of images taken by peers and co-workers who every day walked into the unknown risk of the city to document what was happening. This was not a small risk either; photographers cannot work from home.”

Jackson used a drone to take aerial photos of the Hart Island burials.

“The scene seemed so surreal, with implications so sobering, that I was optimistic it would be impossible for anyone to doubt the pandemic's effects after the images published,” he said.

photo essay during pandemic

Dr. Erroll Byer Jr., the head of obstetrics and gynecology at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York, shows Precious Anderson her newborn son on a live video feed in April 2020. The hospital delivered her baby two months early because she was struggling with the coronavirus.

“She was delighted to finally meet her son, and exhausted by what they had both been through,” photographer Victor J. Blue said. “We published the story just as the first wave of the pandemic was crashing over New York City, and I was happy to inject a rare ray of hope into the relentless darkness of the news of the virus.

“It is strange to remember how little we knew about the Covid-19 at that point, and we were able to relieve at least one source of anxiety for readers about the disease — that it would not be a death sentence for pregnant women.”

photo essay during pandemic

A man eats by himself in a Beijing bar, in a neighborhood usually bustling with people, in February 2020. This was a month before the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic.

“Beijing was a few weeks into a lockdown that strictly restricted the movements in and out of the city,” photographer Gilles Sabrié said. “The lake was silent, the bars were shut down — a throwback to my first visit to Beijing, 20 years before, when the area was undeveloped and romantic.

“But a sadness in the air prevented me from enjoying this bout of nostalgia. The economic loss and the solitude induced by the pandemic were overwhelming.”

photo essay during pandemic

Photographer Michael Dantas lives in Manaus, one of the Brazilian cities hardest-hit by Covid-19.

The first two photos were taken by Dantas in 2020, when Manaus was dealing with one of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreaks. The first shows Ulisses Xavier, a worker at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery, making wooden crosses for the graves.

The bottom two photos were taken in 2021 as Manaus dealt with a second wave of cases.

“The year started with many deaths, a lot of people getting sick,” Dantas said. “We lost friends, people we knew, and unfortunately my wife’s mother was infected with the coronavirus. She is this lady in the picture lying in our home after spending 15 days in the hospital. I had to stop all my work to support my family.”

The last photo, he said, shows the despair of two health workers who were talking outside after a hospital’s oxygen supply ran out in January 2021.

photo essay during pandemic

People sit in New York's Domino Park in May 2020. The painted circles, spaced 6 feet apart, were meant to encourage social distancing. It was a novel approach then; it’s much more common now.

Photographer Johannes Eisele said it was the first New York City park he saw that had those circles.

“After covering the pandemic for quite a while already, it became quite difficult to come up with ways to illustrate the story,” he remembers. “For example, Central Park was packed with people, and the only thing to see were some people wearing masks and those big signs saying keep 2 meters distance. When I heard that Domino Park put up circles for people to sit, I thought it would be very visual.”

photo essay during pandemic

Protesters stand outside the Statehouse Atrium in Columbus, Ohio, to voice their opposition to stay-at-home orders in April 2020.

About 100 protesters assembled outside the building during Gov. Mike DeWine’s weekday update on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Other states also saw protests as people grew more concerned about the pandemic’s economic fallout.

“At the time I made this image, I remember a feeling of fear and uncertainty,” photographer Joshua A. Bickel said. “I was definitely afraid of contracting coronavirus and spreading it because my job required me to be outside of my home, and that’s the main reason I decided to stay inside the Statehouse that day and why this image is composed the way it is.

“I remember the protesters were very angry, and some were verbally aggressive to members of the media both inside and outside the Statehouse on this day and during a smaller protest a few days prior. It’s hard for me to look at this image almost a year later and not draw comparisons between this event and the events at the US Capitol on January 6. I look back at this image and see the effects of disinformation and the beginnings of radicalization, and I think there’s evidence that both events were rooted in those things.”

photo essay during pandemic

Francisco España, who was recovering from the coronavirus, looks at the Mediterranean Sea from a promenade in Barcelona, Spain, in September 2020.

Hospital del Mar was taking patients to the seaside as part of their recovery process.

“It’s important to keep in mind the emotional well-being of patients and to try to work on it in the early stages of the recovery,” Dr. Judith Marín told the Associated Press.

photo essay during pandemic

Go-go dancers perform in the Lucky Devil Lounge parking lot in Portland, Oregon, while customers sit in their cars in April 2020. During the pandemic, more and more people have turned to drive-thrus and drive-ins to keep their distance from one another and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“It's not visible in this specific frame, but each of the dancers was wearing a mask and gloves,” photographer Beth Nakamura said. “Between the pandemic accoutrement, the go-go dancing and the pulsating lights and music, it was all very cinematic, like a post-apocalyptic fever dream.”

She thought the hybrid vehicle really gave the scene a “local feel” with many people in Portland being environmentally conscious.

“Only in Portland would you find not just a drive-thru strip club in a pandemic, but a drive-thru strip club in a pandemic with Prius-driving customers,” she said.

photo essay during pandemic

Tyler and Caryn Suiters embrace after being married in Arlington, Virginia, in April 2020. The moment was photographed by Getty Images photographer Win McNamee. The Rev. Andrew Merrow and his wife, Cameron, were the only other attendees at the ceremony due to social-distancing guidelines.

Because of the pandemic, many couples have had to rethink their wedding plans — whether it be postponing the ceremonies or scaling them down for safety reasons.

photo essay during pandemic

Romelia Navarro, right, is comforted by nurse Michele Younkin while sitting at the bedside of her dying husband, Antonio, at a hospital in Fullerton, California, in July 2020.

Navarro and her son, Juan, were saying their final goodbyes. Her sobbing grew louder as her husband’s heart rate started dropping, remembers photographer Jae C. Hong. Hong could also see tears through the nurse’s face shield.

“It was very emotional, more than I could handle,” Hong said. “Navarro was Younkin’s first Covid-19 patient to pass on her watch. It was my first time seeing someone die in my career and in my life.

“When the patient’s heart rate dropped to zero, I left the room quietly. The nurse came out a few minutes after. She removed her protective equipment and washed her hands. Wiping her tears, the nurse walked away for fresh air. I decided not to follow her.”

photo essay during pandemic

Shoppers load up on supplies at a New York City Costco in March 2020. In the early days of the pandemic, many people began stocking up on food, toilet paper, and other necessities. As a response to panic buying, retailers in the United States and Canada started limiting the number of toilet paper that customers could buy in one trip.

“When this image was taken, most people were preparing to quarantine not knowing when and for how long,” photographer Gabriela Bhaskar said. “It was my second day covering the panic buying, and the reporter on this story and I were trying to figure out how people were feeling, if there really was a shortage of supplies as toilet paper, soap, sanitizer and masks were already impossible to find in some neighborhoods. There were a few moments that week where I asked myself, ‘Are you panicking based on facts or because panic is contagious?’ ”

photo essay during pandemic

Dana Clark and her 18-month-old son, Mason, wait in line at City Hall as early voting began in New Orleans in October 2020. Clark, a teacher, said she donned this protective “safety pod” because Mason didn’t have a mask and she didn't know how many people would be wearing masks in line.

“She bought the pod for when she was to return to the classroom with her fifth-grade social studies students,” photographer Kathleen Flynn said. “She wanted to protect them as much as she hoped she could protect her own kids and her husband, who has underlying health issues.

“I feel like this image illustrates a convergence of so many pressing issues from this year — fear of contagion, hope for her child’s future, pressures facing educators and a wish for racial justice. And a determination to vote during one of the most contested and important elections of our lifetime.”

photo essay during pandemic

Photographer Atul Loke has been covering the pandemic from India. His photos provide a glimpse into the country.

A boat owner waits in vain for passengers at the Dal Lake in Srinagar; without tourists, many boat owners were facing financial crisis. A woman passes through a sanitation tunnel at a containment zone in south Mumbai, the city Loke calls home. A worker fumigates a Mumbai vegetable market while a vendor rests on the ground.

“There was an unlikely eeriness to (Mumbai), a city that never sleeps,” Loke said. “And being a photojournalist for more than two decades, I hadn’t seen my city brought to such a standstill.”

Loke said one of his editors, after witnessing his photos, told him that he didn’t need to put himself at such risk. Loke said he felt compelled to tell the story.

“If this isn’t documented and left for generations to see, then words will only fail to suffice what my heart and eyes felt,” Loke said. “I wouldn’t be able to sleep peacefully knowing I let it pass, not doing what as a photographer was my calling.”

photo essay during pandemic

The UceLi Quartet p erfor ms for an audience of plants during a June 2020 concert that was live-streamed from the newly reopened Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house in Barcelona, Spain.

A total of 2,292 plants were packed into the theater while the string quartet performed Puccini's "Crisantemi.” The event was the work of conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia.

“Arriving at my position, I was caught by the extreme silence, not the usual talking, the usual late arrivals — just an extreme silence and a sense of desolation,” photographer Jordi Vidal said. “Then the quartet began to perform ‘Crisantemi’ and it felt like quite a surreal moment. … I wondered how the musicians felt when they finished performing. No claps or ovations, just that silence again.”

Each of the plants was brought in from nearby nurseries and would be donated to a health care worker from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona.

photo essay during pandemic

A health care worker stands in a Denver street, counterprotesting an April 2020 rally where people were demanding that stay-at-home orders be lifted.

“The health care workers wanted to get their message across that people need to stay home to protect themselves and protect the people in the medical field,” photographer Alyson McClaran said. “This image captures the conflict and division surrounding Covid-19 precautions in the USA.”

McClaran said she was only at this scene for a few minutes.

“In that time, a man exited his car to get in the health care workers’ face and a lady hung her body out screaming profanity and telling them to get out of the road,” McClaran said. “The Denver Police Department came and asked them to step out of the road and to stop blocking traffic on green lights.”

photo essay during pandemic

A medical team cares for Imani, a 22-year-old from Texas, after she had an abortion in Los Angeles. In the early days of the pandemic, many states put a temporary ban on elective surgeries and medical procedures deemed nonessential. For several states, that included abortion.

It didn’t take long for abortion providers to challenge the new restrictions. In some states, several judges blocked the bans. Others were eventually lifted by the states themselves. But for weeks, many women like Imani were left in limbo. (CNN agreed to use a pseudonym to protect her identity.)

Photographer Glenna Gordon had been trying for a while to do a story about the nation’s “abortion deserts” — areas of the United States where women have to travel long distances to obtain an abortion. She never expected a pandemic to make things even harder.

“At the terrifying beginning of the pandemic, Imani was one of countless women who suddenly found herself without access to abortion,” Gordon said. “She did what she needed to do and came to California.”

photo essay during pandemic

Cardboard cutouts replace fans in the stands as the New York Mets hosted the Atlanta Braves in their season opener in July 2020. Major League Baseball started a 60-game abbreviated season four months after Opening Day was postponed because of the pandemic. For much of the year, games were played without fans.

“What I remember most about this day are the recorded sounds of fans piped into the stadium,” New York Times photographer Todd Heisler said. “On television, the sounds and the cutouts gave the illusion of a sense of normalcy. But being there in person only seemed to make the lack of fans more pronounced.

“I wondered what the players were feeling as they took the field for the first time since the pandemic began. I wasn't really interested in photographing game action. I needed to step back and make an image that captured a specific moment in history. Without context, it was just another baseball game.”

photo essay during pandemic

El Paso County inmates load the bodies of coronavirus victims into a refrigerated trailer in El Paso, Texas, in November 2020. They were temporarily relieving overworked personnel at the El Paso County Medical Examiner's Office, authorities said. The county was one of Texas' Covid-19 hot spots.

“These low-level inmates represent just a few of the thousands of ‘last responders’ who courageously handled the remains of the deceased across the US,” photographer Mario Tama said.

Tama took the photo from an adjacent cemetery, the only place he could capture images on the ground.

“As photojournalists, our job is to document reality, no matter how beautiful or tragic,” he said. “We did our best to sensitively and accurately document the reality of the pandemic in hospitals, funeral homes, morgues and cemeteries across the country.”

photo essay during pandemic

First-grader Sophia Frazier does her schoolwork behind a plastic divider at Two Rivers Elementary School in Sacramento, California, in March 2021. Only the students near the teacher’s desk appeared to have the dividers.

“I have never seen a sight like this while covering schools,” photographer Daniel Kim said. “When I captured the moment, I could clearly see that this girl was uncomfortable with the new ways she had to learn; it shows in her face. I thought that this picture captured the moment in time that a lot of students are facing in the world with the new Covid-19 protocols.”

photo essay during pandemic

Olivia Grant, right, hugs her grandmother, Mary Grace Sileo, through a plastic cloth hung on a clothesline in Wantagh, New York, in May 2020. The two were seeing each other for the first time since the pandemic started.

“I remember thinking how emotional everything got for Mary Grace once her kids and grandchildren showed up,” photographer Al Bello said. “At the time, she had not seen them in several months and she wanted to have some sort of contact. She held each child and grandchild through the plastic sheet very tightly and did not let go for a long time.”

Bello is a renowned sports photographer for Getty Images, but he chipped in to help cover the pandemic and he said it was a great learning experience for him.

“My goal of this pandemic was to show pictures of hope, humanity, love and kindness,” he said. “I would like to think this is all of those things in one picture.”

photo essay during pandemic

US President Donald Trump takes off his face mask for a photo op after he returned to the White House in October 2020. Trump had just spent three nights at the hospital receiving treatment for Covid-19.

“I feel like for all those who covered the White House that weekend, the whole period of time was intense with trying to figure out the timeline when President Trump tested positive and dig for the truth about how severe his illness was,” photographer Anna Moneymaker said. “On top of that we're also trying to be mindful of our own exposure, because several journalists had tested positive or gone into quarantine the week prior after traveling with President Trump in the days leading up to him testing positive.

“A little bit after President Trump returned from the hospital and the press pool had gone back to file, this custodial worker wearing a hazmat suit walked through our work area spraying disinfectant around the press briefing room, which I’d seen happen in pictures from New York City or cities in China or Italy, but never in my own work space.”

photo essay during pandemic

Ann Webb Camp, left, and Clemintine Banks hand a ballot to a voter in St. Louis in November 2020. People with Covid-19 were able to do curbside voting there.

“We had been photographing early voting for weeks and it was beginning to all look the same,” said photographer Robert Cohen of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “What I discovered was this tiny voter niche I hadn't considered: those people who had just found out that they tested positive, realized they couldn't go to the polls the following day yet badly wanted to cast their vote.”

People came by appointment only, Cohen said, pressing their IDs against the glass and cracking the window only to take their ballot.

“The four poll workers of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners — Diane Carroll, Traviance Stidham, Ann Webb Camp and Clemintine Banks — were so welcoming,” he said. “They waved to the voters, some of whom wanted to take selfies of their moon-suited helpers. In one case, one of the voters' cars wouldn't restart to leave. A poll worker phoned her husband to come and help.”

photo essay during pandemic

Margaret Keenan, 90, is applauded in December 2020 after she became the first person in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine.

The United Kingdom was the first nation to begin vaccinating its citizens with a fully vetted and authorized Covid-19 shot, a landmark moment in the coronavirus pandemic.

Keenan, who received the vaccine a week before turning 91, said she felt "privileged" to be the first to get the shot. "It's the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year," she said.

Jacob King, who took this photo, said he remembers the day clearly.

“It felt an important moment then and still does so now,” he said. “In the UK, April means the gradual easing of the lockdown due to decreasing infection levels coupled with the vaccination program.”


COVID-19 photo essay reflects on the day our lives changed forever three years ago

People wear masks pictured through the doors of a train

While it feels almost a lifetime ago for some, it's been exactly three years since a state of emergency was declared in Western Australia as the novel coronavirus began to send shock waves around the world. 

Already isolated by its geography, the unprecedented move cemented the state as a hermit kingdom and fundamentally changed the way sandgropers went about their daily lives. 

A lone pedestrian walks through a deserted public meeting space in Perth's CBD.

This picture essay illustrates a pivotal and unsettling chapter in our history, and reflects how the virus dictated the way we lived.

Panic and confusion

COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, but the panic didn't set in until a couple of months later when news of mass deaths overseas was beamed in to living rooms across Australia.

A photo taken from directly above shows a patient being loaded into an ambulance with medics wearing protective suits nearby.

The virus captivated the entire world, but the threat really hit home when Australia recorded its first COVID death on March 1 — a Perth man who had been aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. 

A cruise ship with a walkway from the door covered in blue tarps

Australians were given a stern warning to return home as soon as possible ahead of the country's border being slammed shut, with international arrivals forced into hotel quarantine in an effort to stop the deadly virus getting in.

A woman looks out of a hotel window

The first round of COVID-19 restrictions, including gathering limits and indoor venue closures, started to give people an inkling of how much their lives were about to be turned upside down. 

Posters about COVID-19 pasted on a wall in Perth

Holidays and big events were cancelled, weddings went online and Rottnest Island went from the home of quokka selfies to a quarantine hub for cruise ship passengers. 

A man sits at his computer while watching a wedding online

Lines curled around liquor stores as the fear of being locked down without a cold stubbie or red wine in hand was too much to bear for most, while subscriptions to streaming services went through the roof. 

A man stands with weights in hand next to his child in a Disney outfit and his wife who drinks from a wine bottle

Grocery store shelves were stripped bare and arguments broke out in supermarket aisles as panic buying led to a nationwide toilet paper drought.

Empty supermarket shelves in a Woolworths store after they were cleared of toilet paper.

ABC reporter Francesca Mann dared to dream when she saw a shopper walk past her with the rare commodity at a Geraldton supermarket.

"I could not believe my eyes," she said.

"I quickly walked over to the toilet paper aisle and there were about seven packs left. It felt like the most valuable item at the time, so it got the royal treatment on the way home."

A packet of toilet paper restrained by a seat belt in the back seat of a car

Mann snapped an equally humorous shot of her pet cat Arya sprawled across her desk in the first few days of working from home. 

A cat lies across an ABC microphone on a table

'Stop the spread'

The state introduced its first round of border restrictions at the end of March, restricting interstate travel to stop the virus spreading between regions and to protect vulnerable Indigenous communities. 

Four Indigenous people stand in a line across a road with a road closure sign

On April 5, 2020, the WA government implemented its harshest border restrictions yet, slamming its borders shut — not just to international arrivals, but to the east as well. 

Mark McGowan and the police commissioner announce Western Australia's borders will be closed on TV

It marked the beginning of an upsetting chapter in the state's history, leaving families divided for two years and living up to Premier Mark McGowan's promise to turn WA into an "island within an island".

Two men dressed in protective gear prepare to test arrivals at Perth Airport.

The travel restrictions wreaked havoc on the tourism and events industries, but it also created a spike in domestic tourism when the state eased restrictions to allow West Australians to holiday in their own backyard. 

Cable Beach drinks sunset

Sandgropers swapped their annual pilgrimage to Bali for the sublime sunsets in Broome, the chance to swim with whale sharks in Exmouth or to see the ancient gorges in the Karijini National Park.

An underwater photo of snorkelers swimming with a whale shark.

But Perth's bustling city centre had turned into a ghost town as West Australians dutifully obeyed restrictions, which shut down the city. 

One man walks through a deserted shopping area.

Just a few pedestrians could be spotted in Forrest Place in April, 2020. Image: Hugh Sando.

Sun sets over the ocean with a sign saying 'Keep your distance'

Even a trip to the beach came with reminders to practise social distancing. Image: Amelia Searson.

An almost empty metro Perth train

Trains crisscrossed the city virtually empty. Image: Hugh Sando.

The outdoor dining space at Cicerello's is empty and taped off

The doors to restaurants, cafes and bars were shuttered. Image: Rebecca Mansell.

The upper floor of the state library is empty

The state library was eerily empty. Image: Emma Wynne.

A sign warning people of coronavirus sits in front of a swing set taped off

Children were cooped up inside as playgrounds closed. Image: Gian De Poloni.

A mattress with Alone Together written on it on the side of the road

Slogans like this started popping up around Perth as people banded together to face the crisis. Image: Damian Smith.

For weeks, the cruise ship Artania became the focus of a tense stand-off between the operator and Mr McGowan, who demanded it leave WA waters.

People wave off a cruise ship as it leaves port

Anzac Day that year was unlike any other due to the traditional service and march being cancelled — the first time since 1942.

A silhouette of a man as he looks up at a memorial which is lit up in pitch darkness

Veterans and families instead marked Anzac Day from the end of their suburban driveways.

Three people and a horse and army vehicle stand on a driveway

By this stage, the virus dominated every aspect of our lives.

Even the security guard, Steve, who opened the door for the premier before he delivered his daily press conference, had become part of life under COVID.

WA Premier Mark McGowan pictured on a t-shirt holding up a beer and wearing a mullet.

Living inside the bubble

Restrictions were gradually eased in May after the virus was eliminated, allowing West Australians to continue living relatively normally for many months compared to what was happening over east.

With no community transmission, WA moved from a hard border to a controlled border in October, with authorities continually lowering and lifting the drawbridge in line with outbreaks in other states. 

Row of cars and caravans queuing to cross the WA/SA border.

On December 5, a tool was unveiled that would dramatically change the way West Australians interacted with the world around them.

A QR code and sign says 'no mask no entry' on a table out the front of a venue

The trio of snap lockdowns

But it was impossible to keep the virus out forever, with the state's 10-month coronavirus-free streak ending on January 21, 2021 when a hotel quarantine security guard tested positive.

A deserted train platform

Perth was locked down twice more in 2021 — from April 24 to April 27 after a hotel quarantine outbreak and from June 29 to July 3 after three COVID cases were detected in the community. 

A woman wearing a face mask walks past the Yagan Square sign in Perth's CBD.

Vaccine hesitancy takes hold

In October, one of the most divisive policies in WA's history was announced — mandatory vaccination for 75 per cent of the state's workforce.

A woman is flanked by two men in a queue outside the entry to a vaccination centre at a pavilion at Claremont Showground.

Some were concerned about potential health impacts from the vaccine and felt it was impinging on people's right to have autonomy over their own bodies, while others felt it was the only way to reopen the borders and protect people from the virus. 

A crowd of people in Forrest Place with flags and banners protesting COVID-19 restrictions.

When the double-dose vaccination rate reached 80 per cent in December, it was announced that WA would finally reopen its border to the rest of the world on February 5, 2022.

A picture of a crowd standing on stairs with fireworks overhead.

But the joy that rippled through the community was short-lived, with WA Premier Mark McGowan performing a sensational backflip just a few weeks later at a late night press conference when he announced the reopening would be delayed.

A centered shot of Mark McGowan doing a press conference with an interpreter standing next to him

However, it turned out the virulent strain was circulating in the community anyway, and the virus started to spread significantly for the first time in two years. 

A line of people waiting in front of an old building for a COVID test.

'Let it rip'

On February 18, Mr McGowan made the announcement many had been waiting for — WA's hard border would come down on March 3 as he conceded it was no longer possible to stop the spread of the virus.

Tearful reunions at Perth Airport after WA border opens

Many employers, including ABC News in Perth, quickly reverted to working from home arrangements for all but operationally critical staff to minimise the risk of spreading the virus in the workplace. 

Two people sit inside a news room

As case numbers grew, so too did tensions between the state government and peak medical groups that warned against easing restrictions, as cracks in the hospital system deepened.

People wearing masks as they come down the escalator in the Perth underground

After being on the frontline of the battle against COVID, health workers began rallying for better pay, which would eventually lead to full-scale industrial action. 

A nurse pictured from behind addresses a huge crowd at a rally

As vaccination rates rose and the COVID outbreak in WA eased in April, the McGowan Government lifted most mask-wearing requirements but the Perth CBD remained a ghost town. 

A man sits alone among empty seats in a public space

Most remaining restrictions were removed in May as the triple-dose vaccination rate hit 80 per cent, but many vulnerable West Australians chose to stay home to shield themselves from the virus. 

Rows of seats with about a third filled with older people

But COVID continued to fade into the background for most, as the things that derailed our lives — lockdowns, mandatory isolation, mask and vaccine mandates— gradually became distant memories.

A brunette and red haired lady put on their masks in front of a mirror

Living with the virus

People have learned how to live with the virus, and getting the vaccine has become about as normal as getting a yearly flu jab. 

After 963 days, WA's state of emergency finally ended on November 4, but the heartache caused by the 956 people who lost their lives, and the far-reaching impact on society and people's livelihoods, will be felt for years to come. 

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COVID-19 photo essay: We’re all in this together

About the author, department of global communications.

The United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC) promotes global awareness and understanding of the work of the United Nations.

23 June 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has  demonstrated the interconnected nature of our world – and that no one is safe until everyone is safe.  Only by acting in solidarity can communities save lives and overcome the devastating socio-economic impacts of the virus.  In partnership with the United Nations, people around the world are showing acts of humanity, inspiring hope for a better future. 

Everyone can do something    

Rauf Salem, a volunteer, instructs children on the right way to wash their hands

Rauf Salem, a volunteer, instructs children on the right way to wash their hands, in Sana'a, Yemen.  Simple measures, such as maintaining physical distance, washing hands frequently and wearing a mask are imperative if the fight against COVID-19 is to be won.  Photo: UNICEF/UNI341697

Creating hope

man with guitar in front of colorful poster

Venezuelan refugee Juan Batista Ramos, 69, plays guitar in front of a mural he painted at the Tancredo Neves temporary shelter in Boa Vista, Brazil to help lift COVID-19 quarantine blues.  “Now, everywhere you look you will see a landscape to remind us that there is beauty in the world,” he says.  Ramos is among the many artists around the world using the power of culture to inspire hope and solidarity during the pandemic.  Photo: UNHCR/Allana Ferreira

Inclusive solutions

woman models a transparent face mask designed to help the hard of hearing

Wendy Schellemans, an education assistant at the Royal Woluwe Institute in Brussels, models a transparent face mask designed to help the hard of hearing.  The United Nations and partners are working to ensure that responses to COVID-19 leave no one behind.  Photo courtesy of Royal Woluwe Institute

Humanity at its best

woman in protective gear sews face masks

Maryna, a community worker at the Arts Centre for Children and Youth in Chasiv Yar village, Ukraine, makes face masks on a sewing machine donated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and civil society partner, Proliska.  She is among the many people around the world who are voluntarily addressing the shortage of masks on the market. Photo: UNHCR/Artem Hetman

Keep future leaders learning

A mother helps her daughter Ange, 8, take classes on television at home

A mother helps her daughter Ange, 8, take classes on television at home in Man, Côte d'Ivoire.  Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, caregivers and educators have responded in stride and have been instrumental in finding ways to keep children learning.  In Côte d'Ivoire, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) partnered with the Ministry of Education on a ‘school at home’ initiative, which includes taping lessons to be aired on national TV and radio.  Ange says: “I like to study at home.  My mum is a teacher and helps me a lot.  Of course, I miss my friends, but I can sleep a bit longer in the morning.  Later I want to become a lawyer or judge."  Photo: UNICEF/UNI320749

Global solidarity

People in Nigeria’s Lagos State simulate sneezing into their elbows

People in Nigeria’s Lagos State simulate sneezing into their elbows during a coronavirus prevention campaign.  Many African countries do not have strong health care systems.  “Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative – now and for recovering better,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.  “Ending the pandemic in Africa is essential for ending it across the world.” Photo: UNICEF Nigeria/2020/Ojo

A new way of working

Henri Abued Manzano, a tour guide at the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) in Vienna, speaks from his apartment.

Henri Abued Manzano, a tour guide at the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) in Vienna, speaks from his apartment.  COVID-19 upended the way people work, but they can be creative while in quarantine.  “We quickly decided that if visitors can’t come to us, we will have to come to them,” says Johanna Kleinert, Chief of the UNIS Visitors Service in Vienna.  Photo courtesy of Kevin Kühn

Life goes on

baby in bed with parents

Hundreds of millions of babies are expected to be born during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Fionn, son of Chloe O'Doherty and her husband Patrick, is among them.  The couple says: “It's all over.  We did it.  Brought life into the world at a time when everything is so uncertain.  The relief and love are palpable.  Nothing else matters.”  Photo: UNICEF/UNI321984/Bopape

Putting meals on the table

mother with baby

Sudanese refugee Halima, in Tripoli, Libya, says food assistance is making her life better.  COVID-19 is exacerbating the existing hunger crisis.  Globally, 6 million more people could be pushed into extreme poverty unless the international community acts now.  United Nations aid agencies are appealing for more funding to reach vulnerable populations.  Photo: UNHCR

Supporting the frontlines

woman handing down box from airplane to WFP employee

The United Nations Air Service, run by the World Food Programme (WFP), distributes protective gear donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Group, in Somalia. The United Nations is using its supply chain capacity to rapidly move badly needed personal protective equipment, such as medical masks, gloves, gowns and face-shields to the frontline of the battle against COVID-19. Photo: WFP/Jama Hassan  

David is speaking with colleagues

S7-Episode 2: Bringing Health to the World

“You see, we're not doing this work to make ourselves feel better. That sort of conventional notion of what a do-gooder is. We're doing this work because we are totally convinced that it's not necessary in today's wealthy world for so many people to be experiencing discomfort, for so many people to be experiencing hardship, for so many people to have their lives and their livelihoods imperiled.”

Dr. David Nabarro has dedicated his life to global health. After a long career that’s taken him from the horrors of war torn Iraq, to the devastating aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami, he is still spurred to action by the tremendous inequalities in global access to medical care.

“The thing that keeps me awake most at night is the rampant inequities in our world…We see an awful lot of needless suffering.”

:: David Nabarro interviewed by Melissa Fleming

Ballet Manguinhos resumes performing after a COVID-19 hiatus with “Woman: Power and Resistance”. Photo courtesy Ana Silva/Ballet Manguinhos

Brazilian ballet pirouettes during pandemic

Ballet Manguinhos, named for its favela in Rio de Janeiro, returns to the stage after a long absence during the COVID-19 pandemic. It counts 250 children and teenagers from the favela as its performers. The ballet group provides social support in a community where poverty, hunger and teen pregnancy are constant issues.

Nazira Inoyatova is a radio host and the creative/programme director at Avtoradio FM 102.0 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Photo courtesy Azamat Abbasov

Radio journalist gives the facts on COVID-19 in Uzbekistan

The pandemic has put many people to the test, and journalists are no exception. Coronavirus has waged war not only against people's lives and well-being but has also spawned countless hoaxes and scientific falsehoods.

Life, emptiness and resolve: A photo essay on the pandemic’s toll along Pico Boulevard

Street scene reflects, 228 E. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles imposed coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses on March 15, 2020. It was the beginning of a year of loss, upheaval and constant adaptation. Public health rules kept evolving. Relief programs brought help for some but only red tape for others. Supply chains were a mess. There were shoppers who feared even entering stores and customers who crowded newly built patios. Some businesses cut hours, services and staff, or shut down. Many have survived beyond their expectations. Staff photographer Genaro Molina shows us how much Pico Boulevard has changed one year later.

 A man walks past a mural.

“We are deeply grateful for the support we have received during these unprecedented times & throughout the 10 plus years we have been in business. It is with great sadness that due to the continuing challenges of the pandemic for our industry we have made the difficult decision to close.”

— Statement on website for Westside Tavern

Westside Tavern is empty after shutting down.

“(The) pandemic has greatly effected our business.”

— Robert Oliver, sign spinner at Liberty Tax Service

Robert Oliver carries a sign on a street.

“Now it’s worse than last year.”

— Laura Peres at Dana Accesorios in the Garment District

Dresses inside a store.

“We are collectively feeling the loss. So I think just collectively mourning and acknowledging it provides a level of healing that is hard to translate into words.”

— Karla Funderburk, whose gallery has received 60,000 from 45 states and nine countries from as far away as Tibet.

A paper crane exhibit.

“2020 felt like our year. We blew up on social media. The abrupt halt was the hardest part for me,”

— Angela Guison, manager of Rave Wonderland

A customer walks into a clothing store.

When the doors of Botanica Luz del Día were closed early on in the pandemic, customers couldn’t browse for their preferred veladoras or stop into the Pico-Union store for tarot readings. The shop went online and sales rebounded. “The website is booming right now,” said Anthony Ponce, grandson of the owner.

A display including candles and San Simon .

“Concerts went to zero. Lessons dropped to 5% of what it was. We’re seeing a lot of repair business from people who are stuck at home and want to play. Consignments are up a lot.”

— Walt McGraw, who has been running the 63-year-old shop with his wife, Nora, since her parents’ retirement.

Photos on the walls of McCabe's.

More visual journalism from the Los Angeles Times

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The year that killed L.A. restaurants: Here are more than 65 notable closures from 2023

Dec. 22, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 25, 2020 - Gilberto Marquez and his 11 month-old daughter Cynthya, walk to their table at Guelaguetza restaurant in Los Angeles on November 25, 2020. The area was part of their parking lot that the restaurant had converted to accommodate outdoor dining. Wednesday was the last day the restaurant would be allowed outdoor dining. With coronavirus cases continuing to soar across the state, a divided L.A. County officials have imposed a ban for at least three weeks all in-person dining and restrict restaurants - along with breweries, wineries and bars - just to takeout and delivery service beginning at 10 p.m. Wednesday. The announcement came after the county's five-day average of new coronavirus cases topped 4,000, a threshold officials had set for implementing the restriction. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Editorial: C’mon, Los Angeles. Make it really easy for restaurants to keep alfresco dining

Feb. 19, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 25: Veronica Nandino, left, and Camilo Cruz, both of Los Angeles, dine outdoors at Baracoa Cuban Cafe in Atwater Village on Saturday, July 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. Restaurant on-site dining limited to outdoor seating due to Covid-19 restrictions in Southern California. Most of the tables are being set up on wide sidewalk areas, or in parking spaces adjacent to the restaurants. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Opinion: Al Fresco dining, homelessness and Los Angeles’ priorities

Feb. 11, 2023

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photo essay during pandemic

Genaro Molina is an award-winning staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times. He has worked in journalism for more than 35 years starting at the San Francisco Chronicle. Molina has photographed the life and death of Pope John Paul II, the tragedy of AIDS in Africa, the impact of Hurricane Katrina, and Cuba after Castro. His work has appeared in nine books and his photographs have been exhibited extensively including at the Smithsonian Institute and the Annenberg Space for Photography.

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'COVID-19 Threw a Curve Ball at Us': Student Photo Essays Document Life During a Pandemic

Nneka Nwabueze

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“We wanted a senior year for the record books, and we got it! … Just not for the reason we expected. COVID-19 threw a curve ball at us, but we’ve made it our mission to find happiness in different places.”

With these words, Duke student Nneka Nwabueze begins a photo essay of student life during the pandemic. It’s part of a class project Digital Documentary Photography: Education, Childhood, and Growth (DOCTST 209S / FS), a Center for Documentary Studies course taught by Susie Post-Rust. Students created essays showcasing how they used documentary photography to explore topics such as essential workers, anti-racism work, the economy and more.

“At the  Center for Documentary Studies   we have been committed to making art that reflects this unusual time in our collective history,” Post-Rust said. “This semester was not the norm, and these students rose to the challenge! They turned their cameras to the issues of this moment, ranging from responses to coronavirus to Black Lives Matter and even the effort to find identity or normalcy in this moment.  Our class was held remotely, and students attended from as far away as southern California or Maine and from as close as campus. Throughout the semester, each student documented their project in an effort to be AWAKE to this moment in history.”

The class was held in conjunction with Duke Service-Learning. To see the photos, created two portfolio sites,  Colored by COVID and  College with COVID .

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Eleven student documentary films about women in politics, link to this page.

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Photo essay: Montreal's new normal during the pandemic

One image at a time, Gazette photographers focus our eyes on a city transformed by COVID-19. An illustration of life as we now know it.

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Photo essay: montreal's new normal during the pandemic back to video.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this photo essay incorrectly identified Catherine Karamanoukian as a travel agent for Air Transat, when in fact she works for Voyages Transat at Carrefour Laval. The Gazette regrets the error.

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Sofia, 15, who plays bass in a rock band

How do teenagers live in lockdown? – photo essay

Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni investigated how Italian teenagers were coping with the coronavirus lockdown, working with them to take pictures using video chat apps

S ome can’t wait to go out again, others don’t really want to, happy to stay home connected to the outside world only through their computer. Some are worried about the virus and others, instead, are more concerned about the climate crisis. To give an answer to this important question, we adopted the same means teenagers use to study and communicate within their community. Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp … these video chats were our eyes to take the pictures, remotely.

Teens (and their parents) allowed us to take snapshots using the camera of their computers, tablets or mobile phones, at home, in their bedroom or where they are spending the quarantine, while they study, read, chat, play music, watch TV or exercise.

This gives a unique portrait of generation Z.

Rami attends the secondary school in Rome. He’s passionate about computers, gaming and coding. Rami is 16 and was born in Jordan.

Rami attends secondary school in Rome. He’s passionate about computers, gaming and app developing. Rami is 16 and was born in Jordan.

I consider myself a very sedentary person . Usually during the school holidays I tend to stay at home most of the time. Quarantine is not affecting what I would normally do with all this extra free time.

One of the things that changed is the shifting of my schedule . Since I don’t have to wake up at 6am , I started to wake up later and later, and as a result I ended up having lunch, dinner, and going to bed at least two hours after my usual time.

The last time I went out it was two days before the quarantine started, with some friends . I don’t feel the need to go out yet.

Viola, 15, attends the International School of Tanganyika in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania

Viola, 15, attends the International School of Tanganyika in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. She’s been living there for four years with her parents, who are doctors. She spends her quarantine days studying, learning guitar, listening to music and video chatting with friends.

From the reaction of the Tanzanians, it does not seem people are worried. Here people continue to go to the market, to church or mosques for religious celebrations, as if nothing happened. Unlike Europe , here it is very difficult to ask people to stay at home. Tanzania is a poor country and people live from day to day and earn the little money they will need to buy food. So it is very difficult to ask for a total closure. Here in Dar Es Salaam, water and soap dispensers have been put everywhere and in all the shops the temperature is checked before entering.

Viola attends an online class with her classmates.

Viola sent us some photos that represent her life in quarantine in her house in Dar es Salaam: Viola attending an online class. Right; her father and little brother.

Viola sends us some snaps that represents her life in quarantine in her house in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Here with her father and little brother.

The school has been closed for three weeks. Yesterday, we were told it will be closed for the rest of the school year. Many of my classmates have returned to their countries and so have the teachers. We now do school online from 8.30am to 2.30pm on Zoom. Some of the teachers who have returned to the U S make video calls late in the evening, others have the backdrop of their hometown snowy landscapes, while it is very hot here in Dar!

During the day, apart from web-school and homework, I contact friends, both Italian and from my school here in Tanzania. I can read and listen to music much more than usual. In the afternoon I often take a walk with my dog.

From this experience I have noticed how we kids often don’t enjoy the simple things we have, such as going out with friends. Now that we can’t, we are realising the importance of these little things. Surely, when it’s all over, we’ll be more grateful for what we have.

Alice, 16, lives on the outskirts of Rome and has access to a big garden. This makes the quarantine days easier for her to stand. She’s very good at drawing, and has plans to move to Portsmouth in the autumn to attend an English school year-long programme.

Alice, 16, lives on the outskirts of Rome and has access to a big garden. This makes the quarantine days easier for her to stand. She’s very good at drawing, and has plans to move to Portsmouth in the autumn to attend an English school year-long programme.

Staying at home is difficult, more than anything else, because I can’t see my friends in person. Apart from not going to school and participating in extra-curricular activity, the only different thing is not going out with my friends.

Alice, her sister and their mother make face masks, which are difficult to find in her area.

The connection is often slow and the video freezes, so classes are much more difficult to follow. The upsides are probably the comfort of being at home and not being seen by teachers.

I worry a lot and also wonder whether this virus will ruin my summer . I ’m probably more concerned about the coronavirus than global warming .

Chiara connects with us via Zoom and selects her favourite TV series Money Heist as a background. She’s very good student, she’s a class representative and politically active.

Chiara connects with us via Zoom and selects her favourite TV series Money Heist as a background. She’s very good student, she’s a class representative and politically active.

Obviously I miss my friends and going out, but I get along well with my family and maybe I’ve always been a bit lazy, so adapting wasn’t difficult. Instead of going out with friends, on Saturday nights I watch movies or series with my family, something nobody had time to do before.

I spend most of my days studying, but I also have virtual meetings with my collective mates and chat with my friends, but physically it is different and I miss th at aspect.

At first it took me a while to realise what was really happening, but hearing the number of deaths on the news or listening to the stories of my uncle, who is a doctor in the Bergamo area – where the virus hit hardest – has frighten ed me. But I’m quite optimistic : if we all respect the rules, and stay at home we will be able to get out of this situation.

Chiara sent us some pictures representing her lockdown days.

Chiara sent us some pictures representing her lockdown days.

Sunbathing and revising on the terrace.

W e feel the virus is hitting closer to home and therefore the instinctive reaction of fear is greater . It ’s more difficult to realise the damage climate breakdown will bring . The complications caused by the virus are perhaps a consequence of the climate crisis, as studies show the areas most affected are also the most polluted. On the other hand, the lockdown is reducing emissions and thus improving the health of our planet.

This experience made us realise our lives had become too hectic and consumerist, which is why we waited too long before completely block ing the economy. The courage to stop it earlier would have prevented many deaths.

Anita, 15, attends the second year of Pilo Albertelli high school in Rome.

Anita, 15, attends the second year of Pilo Albertelli high school in Rome. She is a brilliant student and spends most of her quarantine days doing web-schooling and homework. She loves writing and reading but also doing sports. She’s a long-jumper.

Sometimes I feel the lockdown is an opportunity to rest from the fren zy and to try things I didn’t have time to do before. Other times, I feel tired of living like this – and the fact that I can’t go out drives me crazy. I miss going to school, I miss athletics and seeing my friends, but I also feel lucky because I ’m healthy and in a comfortable home. Having lunch with my whole family is new – that was not a daily habit before.

During the day I read and watch TV series. Sometimes I make video calls with my friends, sometimes I draw. We are lucky at least to be able to continue to study and see our classmates and teachers, but there are internet connection problems and distance learning is more difficult .

I’m worried about the victims and that someone I know might get sick. I’m scared that hospitals are overloaded and there aren’t enough doctors . Despite the lock down we’re doing well in the family, but I’m amazed at how much I miss school.

I ’ve learned that life and our habits can change in a second. I have never thought about this before, but in many other parts of the world this often happens. Then I learned to wash my hands very well!

Chiara B, is attending the second year at the Italian school in Madrid, where she lives with her family

Chiara B attends the second year at the Italian school in Madrid, where she lives with her family. She’s a Hollywood film fan and she wants to become a director of photography. Spain is among the countries worst-hit by the pandemic. She spends her lockdown days learning to play the guitar, watching movies and studying.

Since I don’t go out of the house any more and I don’t have any more commitments, life is less hectic. This allows me to think more, but sometimes, I get lost in distressing thoughts ( for example, about our future). I miss being able to meet friends in person very much.

I have more time now. I can write more, work out every day, read and work on personal projects . Apart from web school and homework, I mostly video-chat to my friends.

At the beginning distance learning was exciting . I paid more attention to classes because it was new. But as the weeks go by, it gets harder to stay focused in front of a screen.

I am more concerned about the climate crisis tha n the virus, but it took a pandemic for this phenomenon to slow down, at least a little bit. I keep myself informed, but in a very superficial way. The numbers frighten me enough and frighten the whole of Spain .

Julien, 15, was born in Rome from a French father. He’s passionate about maths and science. He spends his lockdown days mainly studying. He doesn’t feel the urge to go out. He just went jogging a couple of times to stay fit, he’s a high jump athlete.

Julien, 15, was born in Rome but has a French father. He’s passionate about maths and science. He spends his lockdown days mainly studying. He doesn’t feel the urge to go out. He just went jogging a couple of times to stay fit. He’s a high-jump athlete.

The obligation to stay at home does not cause me any stress at all: I am very homely and do not feel the need to go out. School and homework aside, I spend my days mainly on my mobile phone or computer. I seldom go jogging.

The web school works well, we have regular lessons every day (even too many!). It’s nice that it’s easier to consult books during the tests .

I don’t miss the fact that I can’t physically meet my friends . I’m happy even if we only see each other virtually during video calls.

The view from Julien’s room.

The view from Julien’s room..

The living room where Julien does his homework and spends much of his time with his mum.

The living room where Julien does his homework and spends much of his time with his mum. The view from Julien’s living room window on to the courtyard of a residential area in Rome.

I ’m not very worried about what is happening because of the virus in the world. I ’m not too up to date on how the pandemic is developing; I watch the news from time to time. I think when this is over, everything will go back to the way it was before.

Sofia, 15, plays bass in a rock band. She loves horror movies.

Sofia, 15, plays bass in a rock band. She’s loves horror movies.

I have more time to think and do what I want to do when I get back from school. On Fridays I play with a band, but now I can’t.

A screenshot of a chat with friends with special effects provided by the application.

A screenshot of a chat with friends. Sofia is a keen photographer – this is the view from her room, where she spends most of the quarantine time.

Sofia is a very good photographer and this is the view from her room, where she spends most of the quarantine time.

Sofia is likes classical thrillers and horror movies..

The video lessons aren’t bad, the only thing I don’t like is that nobody shows their face – that would be nice . The way we do web schooling is like listening to a recorded voice and it’s boring.

I miss meeting my friends in person , also because I had just started to go out in the evening with friends and that felt good.

Michela has been reading a lot and kept good care of her pet.

Michela has been reading a lot and keeping good care of her pet.

Being at home doesn’t bother me too much. The relationship with my parents hasn’t changed much, we live in the same house but we don’t see each other often, each of us has his own space in the house and we only get together to eat. At least once a week, I go out for a walk with my grandmother’s dog, so I’m not completely segregated like other people.

Michela sent us some snaps of her daily life in quarantine.

Michela sent us some snaps of her daily life in quarantine.

Michela sent us some snaps of her daily life in quarantine.

The daily routine hasn’t changed drastically, the main difference is when I play sport: I used to train in the evening for about two hours with my rugby team, now I do it in the morning for one hour at most, doing some exercises suggested by our coach.

School homework is the same as before, and the whole morning is occupied by video lessons. But I finally found some time for myself, for example to make a jewellery box to tidy up all my earrings and necklaces that were previously cluttered in a box.

I am more concerned about the climate crisis because the coronavirus is something to which we will eventually find a solution, even though it will take a long time . Climate breakdown, on the other hand, is a seemingly invisible enemy that we can’t stop, because it’s not as obvious as the coronavirus, because it doesn’t bring “imminent” deaths, but a slow death of the whole planet. It seems that the world is not focused in finding a real solution for that.

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Dollars & Sense

Reporting from the boroughs and beyond, photo essay: artists keep creativity flowing during pandemic.

photo essay during pandemic

Article and photos by Noel Stevens | Mar. 25, 2021

Ernest Chan  is a 24-year-old visual artist based in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Chan was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and after graduating from the University of Texas with a double major in advertising and psychology, he ventured to New York to look for work. In November 2019, Chan landed a job in advertising.

photo essay during pandemic

Chan has settled into this life in New York comfortably, despite the pandemic. He credits his work and his fondness of the city in helping him adapt. “Yes, there’s art scenes everywhere, but I think there’s something very special about the way New York does it,” he said.

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Staying hopeful in a pandemic: a photo essay

As well as having their studies disrupted, many young people have had to deal with mental health struggles, losing loved ones, family job losses. What's remarkable is how they adapt and take control of their situation even when surrounded by so much uncertainty and change. 

photo essay during pandemic

30 December 2020

photo essay during pandemic

Csarina, 19

During lockdown, I found it really hard to stay within myself because I'm a really social person. If it wasn't for my friends, I think I would have struggled a lot more than I did.

Never underestimate the bonds of people you're with. It sounds really corny, but I think that inherently people want to be with other people.

I also like to draw a lot, but during lockdown I found it hard to even pick up a pen. Because I wasn't able to go outside, I found my ideas became very dry. But then seeing the stuff people did online, like choirs and musicals, made me realise I could still do something at home. I wasn't cooped up doing nothing all the time. 

it's not always going to be like this it's notalwaysgoing tobe like this – Cristina, 19

Cristina, 19

During the pandemic we’ve had a lot of time to ourselves and I’ve been trying to use that time to improve on things that I want to learn. It's kind of time for myself - I don't think we have that a lot and I think we should take advantage of it, obviously there are negatives to that as well.

One thing that I always like to tell myself when I’m struggling is that it’s not always going to be like this, things do change.

If you do need help, always seek help and don't be ashamed to do so.

I feel like I’m still very young. I’m still trying to figure out what my goal is and that's ok. You don't need to know exactly what you’re doing and I think the world is full of options. It’s good for us to be aware of that and you can do anything you put your mind to. I'd like to make a positive difference in the world, make an impact in something that I’m passionate about. 

This year has been pretty hard to stay positive. But personally, I've been trying to stay grateful I guess.

When lockdown hit, I entered this state of mind that was really negative. Things weren't going the way I planned so it really affected my work life and my mental health. But I had this realisation that there are people out there to help me. 

It's hard to constantly need to adapt to different limitations and rules but I guess lockdown taught me that I could adapt. I started to run which has helped my mental health a lot.

It's important to help your friends too. If you see someone struggling, just be there for them because that stuff can take them really far.

It's been a difficult year. Mentally I wasn’t feeling good and I was struggling to stay motivated. I would wake up at 4pm. I didn't really have a routine, I wasn’t eating properly, it was really hard.

I’ve found that even just taking walks and learning to be alone and become friends with myself has really helped. That being said, I really miss socialising. I take any chance I get to see friends. If you're feeling lonely and depressed and sad, chances are that somebody else is and you know you can do it together.

I also started knitting and you know it was fun!

It kept me busy, kept my mind off things, got me off social media for a while. I have like zero self control so I’ll be on social media for hours, like why am i wasting seven hours of my day just scrolling? It was really detrimental to my mental health. 

So uninstalling has really helped. I recommend everyone try it even for like one day a week cause it really helps and when you realise how much time you have to do stuff in the day, it’s so crazy.

things have changed so much thingshavechangedso much

Our foundation year ended quite abruptly so it was hard to keep continuing and producing work. Also, my Granny passed away so that was quite hard to deal with but then I sort of used a project to try and help deal with my emotions around her passing. 

I guess this feeling of isolation has been quite hard but I think if you talk to your friends like go on the phone with them not just text them, like make sure you actually hear their voice I think that’s quite important.

I personally do find it hard to open up about things but when I do, I always feel a lot better about it so you know try to open up. Also, find something that is not pressure based that you can do to relax. Crochet is definitely something like that. I would say knitting as well but I think knitting is a bit more stressful! 

We'll definitely see better days, we'll adapt and things will improve We'll definitely see better days, we'll adapt and things will improve

It hasn't been easy, but just practising mindfulness and appreciating all the small things, you know, having a roof over your head. This pandemic has gone to show how many things you can lose so easily.

My mum lost her job during the pandemic. So that was quite hard. I had to support my mum. Mum eventually found another job, but those first couple of months of the lockdown in March were really tough because your world is kind of thrown in the opposite way. And there were a lot of things that you didn't know.

But eventually it got better, we all pulled through.

I would love to work in film actually, hopefully, if I finish my degree, get an internship. That would be great. But I'm open to anything really so I’ll just see where it takes me.

Photographs by Anselm Ebulue

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Photo Essay: BU Community Takes Up New, Sometimes Not-So-New, Hobbies during Pandemic

From music and cooking to tennis and juggling, these students, faculty, and staff have found new creative outlets

Cydney scott.

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches close to its one-year mark, shuttering most theaters, concert stages, clubs, and sporting arenas, millions of Americans have taken up new hobbies or returned to hobbies they enjoyed long ago to help fill their leisure time. 

Earlier this fall, we reached out to members of the BU community and asked them to share with us the hobbies they have discovered or rediscovered during the pandemic for a special photo essay. 

BU photographer Cydney Scott came up with the idea for the project after interviewing a student who told her she’d decided to learn how to skateboard when the pandemic hit. Cydney, too, had picked up a new hobby—making homemade ice cream. She figured there were probably a lot more faculty, students, and staff who were doing the same thing. She was right. 

The ongoing pandemic posed certain challenges, Scott says. “I always had a mask on when I visited participants for their photo shoots, and I shot for as short a time as possible. This is a challenge when you’re used to lingering with subjects until they grow comfortable with your presence.” Where it made sense, Scott shot her subjects outdoors, but that wasn’t always possible. “Oftentimes,” she says, “windows were opened prior to my arrival and left open for the duration of the shoot, and subjects wore their masks right up until photographing began.” 

Take a look at the hobbies some BU students, faculty, and staff have taken up over the past few months. They may inspire you to check out a new hobby, too.

Tatyana F. Da Rosa (CAS’20, Questrom’21) Hobby: Makeup and makeup tutorials

Photo of Tatyana F. Da Rosa (CAS’20, Questrom’21) smiling and sitting on her bed in a bonnet while doing her makeup. Da Rosa's Hobby is makeup and makeup tutorials.

Da Rosa applying makeup in her StuVi II suite, with her phone and ring light close by to shoot one of her instructional videos (left) and her completed look (right).

“The hobby I got into over quarantine was makeup, doing various eyeshadow and eyeliner looks specifically. Creating different makeup looks is such a fun way of combining self-expression, art, skill, and creativity all on your own face! I also started making tutorials on Tiktok (@tatyyy) to share the knowledge I had with others who may want to do the same. I love everything about makeup, but as a Black woman, it hasn’t been easy to shop around for what is meant to work for me. However, with more brands becoming aware of the struggle that darker skin-toned people face, it’s been a real joy to finally watch the beauty community grow. Makeup has acted as a stress reliever and creative distraction for me during quarantine. It’s time I set aside to express myself with nothing else in mind besides having fun with it. Makeup is harmless, yet powerful; it’s temporary, yet beautiful; and it’s really helped me focus my energy on something positive and so far fruitful.”

Megan Nocivelli, Metropolitan College lecturer, administrative sciences Hobby: Knitting

Photo of Megan Nocivelli, lecturer, administrative sciences, Metropolitan College, sitting in her home smiling with her dog on her lap as she knits. Yarn is seen in bags on the ground around her chair.

“I learned to knit in sixth grade, but did not keep it up. I had been thinking about knitting again and with the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order, it seemed like a good time to start up again. I ordered a kit online to make a cardigan sweater and then a hat, and I have been knitting steadily since April.

It is very relaxing and it’s satisfying to see a project take shape. I need to pay attention enough to my knitting to prevent me from focusing on COVID-19, the economy, or the election. But my mind is free enough to listen to an audiobook or chat with someone while knitting. I find a lot of satisfaction in creating something out of nothing.”

Scott Bunch, College of Engineering associate professor of mechanical engineering and of materials science and engineering Hobby: Skateboarding

Photo of Scott Bunch, College of Engineering associate professor of mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering, skateboarding down a skate ramp with a helmet and pads while wearing khakis and a button down.

“I recently got back into skateboarding after a 30-year hiatus. I love the physical and mental challenge of it, the excitement of landing a new trick, and the adrenaline rush of dropping down a ramp. It is a great way to get outside and blow off steam in these pandemic times, as long as you don’t mind the inevitable bumps and bruises. After my first few days skating, my muscles were sore in places I didn’t even know I had muscles, and falling on concrete took some getting used to. I am looking forward to many more years of my rediscovered hobby and maybe someday landing a kickflip off the stairs of the BU Photonics Center.”

Megan Berkowitz (STH’21, SSW’21) Hobby: Backstrap weaving

Photo of Megan Berkowitz (STH’21, SSW’21) leaning over a loom while backstrap weaving by hand. A tree with bright yellow leaves is seen in the background.

“I learned backstrap weaving from indigenous Tzotzil Maya women at their home in Zinacantán in Chiapas, Mexico, during the summer after my first year at BU. Even though I bought and made the tools I needed soon after that trip, in 2018, I didn’t pick it back up again until March of 2020. I’ve been working on this project—it will  probably turn out to be a table runner—ever since. I do a lot of other types of crafts as gifts or on commission, so it’s nice to have this project that’s just about making something for the sake of it. Plus, the repetitive action of this simple project is really calming, as is being outside.”

Luke Dwyer, director, financial and business, BU Athletics Hobby: Cooking

Photo of a pair of tongs plating the final piece of a dish of Jamie Oliver’s recipe for rosemary chicken with grilled polenta and asparagus in a porcini mushroom ragu sauce. A full plate is seen in the background.

Dwyer preparing Jamie Oliver’s recipe for rosemary chicken with grilled polenta and asparagus in a porcini mushroom ragu sauce for himself and his girlfriend, Jane Murray, at their home in Boston.  

“Searching for some television to watch during the lockdown in April, I found a British cooking show called 15 Minute Meals , hosted by Jamie Oliver. One episode I watched had a recipe for Indian spiced lamb chops with homemade curry sauce, and needing something to do with the pork chops sitting in my fridge that I struggled to cook, I decided to give the recipe a whirl. I’ve been cooking simple stuff most of my life, but moving to Indian food represented a huge culinary step forward. The dish was fantastic, even substituting pork for lamb, and I was inspired to make more of Jamie’s recipes. The new ingredients and flavors from Jamie’s and other recipes have been such a pleasure to look forward to during a time when we’re all eating most of our meals at home.”

Janice Checchio, BU Photography associate creative director Hobby: Quilting

Photo of Janice Checchio, associate creative director, BU Photography sitting on her couch as she works on a large quilt with brightly-colored geometric shapes.

“I pulled out my sewing machine early on in the pandemic—first to sew masks, and later, after a brief fling with making clothes—settling in on designing and making quilts. Developing a new tactile skill demands your attention; it absorbs you, and until it becomes muscle memory, forces your brain to be present to tell your hands what to do. After months of pandemic worries, frustration over the treatment of people of color, presidential anxiety, and motherhood, setting aside some time to be in my craft bubble was a solace. I’m also excited to have found I’m not very good at quilting. My ideas are far greater than my abilities, I take more shortcuts than would be advised, and I’m not good at sewing either curved lines or straight ones. Is it perfect? No. Is it relaxing? Also no. But is it done? Almost.”

Bill Dupee, Questrom School of Business business analyst/consultant Hobby: Building a flight simulator

Photo of Bill Dupee, business analyst/consultant, Questrom Info Tech Services Department, sitting in front of his computer as uses different joysticks to fly a plane using a flight simulator he built with his son.

“I have always been interested in aviation, and I am an incurable techie nerd… Also, I am 76 years old and stuck at home in self-imposed ‘geriatric quarantine,’ as a category 4 BU staff employee. So, when Microsoft released a vastly improved Flight Simulator 2020 in August, I was very excited to ‘escape’ the confines of our condo on the North Shore in Beverly and tour the world. My son and I decided to build a flight simulator from scratch, complete with instruments, controls, and even rudder pedals! While confined to quarters at home, I can safely rendezvous with my son on the Internet. We can form up together and buzz the Logan Airport tower wing-on-wing. It’s helped me stay connected, engaged, entertained, and I feel less contained and cooped up.”

Sarah Kula (LAW’21) Hobby: Embroidery

Photo of Sarah Kula (LAW’21) sitting at the base of a tree with golden, fall-colored leaves while working on an embroidery project.

Kula embroidering a tote bag as a birthday gift for her roommate in Amory Park, Brookline. She learned to embroider from her sister in March when the pandemic struck Boston.

“I have my sister to thank for my embroidery hobby. She’s been cross-stitching for a couple of years, but last winter she taught me all the basic skills and gave me a little starter kit. I taught myself a few more basics from YouTube and Instagram, then worked my way up to bigger, more complicated projects over time. Since then, I’ve made a dozen or so pieces for friends and family, with varying success. This hobby has been an incredible source of joy, gratification, and community for me during the pandemic. Particularly this year in law school, the moments of pride and gratification have been few and far between. We’re all feeling perpetually behind in our to-do lists, frustrated, and unable to judge our own academic performance. More importantly, we’re extremely disconnected from our loved ones, including family and close friends from school. In a small but significant way, embroidery has helped me cope with those feelings. I feel a lot of pride and gratification when I create something new, and I feel more connected to my community when I spend time on a gift for my loved ones.”

Thomas Bohrer, Athletics, head coach, men’s crew Hobby: Guitar

Photo of Thomas Bohrer plays some guitar with his daughter Sabrina at her home in Somerville.They sit outside on the porch of a light blue house.

“I started playing guitar in high school, but it had been about 30 years since I last played. My friend Mike got me interested in starting to play again during the summer of 2019. I started playing off and on for the next few months, but since COVID hit, I am playing every day. With so much time at home, I play three to four times a day, filling in the breaks between Zoom meetings. I find it to be very relaxing. As the chords started coming back, I just wanted to play all the time. Now that I am back on campus, when I get home from coaching I pick up and start playing when I walk in the door. My daughter Sabrina has started playing as well and even my wife is learning some chords and getting in on the action. My summer goal was to have ‘tiny deck’ concerts at our cottage in New Hampshire, where I could play for my family. They are nonjudging and think everything sounds good. As a coach I can say that the more you practice, the better you get, and it has been fun.”

Emma French (COM’24) Hobby: Juggling

Emma French in her Warren Towers dorm room practicing her juggling. She wears a spotted face mask; her dorm walls are covered with maps, photos, and cork boards.

“My new hobby is juggling. I actually took it up before quarantine as a high school project, but I wasn’t very motivated and wasn’t making lots of progress. After the world ended—COVID—I had a bunch of time and nothing to do, so I finally started practicing. Juggling ended up becoming a way for me to de-stress after online classes and other stuff. I still use it at BU to take my mind off everything that’s been happening. It helps me focus on what’s real and what I can control. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.”

Paul “Hutch” Hutchinson, Questrom senior lecturer, management and organizations Hobby: Carpentry

Photo of Paul Hutchinson working on a guitar stool in his woodshop at his home in Jaffrey, N.H. He wears a face mask and noise cancelling earmuffs. A large Boston University Sargent College sign hangs on one wall of his shop; the other wall is filled with tools.

Hutchinson working on a guitar stool in his woodshop at his home in Jaffrey, N.H. Since taking up carpentry, he’s made handrails for his outdoor steps, a desk, a chair, and a nesting credenza for his son. 

“When COVID-19 hit, I dove into my new hobby of carpentry. This was partially in order to fix some things around the house, but mostly because I needed to get away from a screen and build something with my hands. Now I’m working on a guitar stool, which is really just a bar stool without the bar, but it will allow me to combine my new hobby of carpentry with my old hobby of playing folk music. After that, I’m likely to start replacing the numerous bookshelves around the house, most of which date back to our early days of marriage when most of our furniture came from Walmart or Target. By the time COVID’s over and we can have guests in the house again, who knows what other treasures will have emerged from the woodshop.”

Katherine Meyer Moran (GRS’04, Wheelock’13), Alumni Relations & Development, director, MET Hobby: Bread baking

Photo of Katherine Meyer Moran with one of her loaves of sourdough bread at her home in Brookline. The oven is open as she quickly goes to slide in the bread. A fridge with fridge magnets are seen in the background.

“As someone who has always enjoyed eating fresh bread, when the pandemic began and our local bakery closed, I knew I wanted to, and would need to, learn how to bake my own bread. I began with a recipe for country bread from Jacques Pépin’s Heart & Soul cookbook, and then, thanks to BU Food & Wine’s Demystifying the Sourdough Starter, I learned the art of making flour and water into bread. It’s been a treat, in a dark time, to share it with family, friends, and neighbors. I think poet Mary Oliver explains it best: ‘Eat bread and understand comfort.’”

Grace Saathoff (CFA’22, COM’22) Hobby: Sewing

Photo of Grace Saathoff, here in her Brookline home, sewed a wardrobe of vintage-inspired dresses over the summer. Saathoff wears a light blue polka-dotted dress and smiles; other dresses she's made hang in the background.

“This summer didn’t go how I planned it to. I think everyone can say that. I had a summer job with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, which was canceled due to COVID, obviously. My family was also not able to return home for the summer because of the pandemic, as they live overseas. So, this summer, I was alone in Idaho, house-sitting for four months, with no job and no family. Sewing gave me a purpose. I was able to wake up and not worry about my family or the pandemic or the next school year, because I was able to focus on something I could control—constructing a 1950s dress. Sewing gave me a sense of purpose in a time when we couldn’t do anything.”

Grace Shaver (CGS’21) Hobby: Jewelry making

Grace shows off some of her playful earrings, a watermelon, orange, kiwi, earrings hang from her hand.

Shaver, showing some of her playful earrings, makes her jewelry pieces at her apartment on Bay State Road .  

“I’ve always wanted to make jewelry, but didn’t know where to start. This past summer I wasn’t working as much as I normally would, and I figured since I had the time I might as well use it. I just looked up the easiest way to get into jewelry, and figured working with clay would be a good place to start on my own. It became like meditation—I’d spend hours making pieces or just trying out new things. It was great to have a finished product I was proud of, and I loved sharing what I’d created with friends and family. Jewelry making is definitely something I’ll keep doing, and I can’t wait to take some classes post-COVID.”

Nyah Jordan (CGS’20, COM’22) Hobby: Tennis

Photo of Nyah Jordan, BU Student Government vice president for internal affairs, in a red shirt and track paints, smiling, at the Harris Playground courts in Medford.

“I’m nowhere close to Serena Williams, but I think tennis is a lot of fun. I have a tennis court in my neighborhood back home in Hattiesburg, Miss., and I was looking for any reason to get out of my house after being stuck inside for two or three months. So, when my boyfriend asked me to come and play with his family, I was excited about the idea, even though I had never played tennis in my life before this summer. I ended up loving it. I just found a tennis court that no one really uses near my boyfriend’s apartment in Medford and for the last couple of weeks, we have been playing there. While I definitely want to get better, the goal of it is just to have something active to do that allows me an opportunity to get out of my dorm room. I can shake off the stress of the pandemic, school, and every other worry. When I’m playing tennis, I’m not thinking about my busy calendar or midterms; I’m very much in the moment just trying to play as best as I can. Between being on several executive boards for clubs and trying to do well in classes, those blissful moments are not something I get very often but I deeply appreciate them when I do.”

RJ Foley IV, Marketing & Communications lead web designer Hobby: Painting

Photo of RJ Foley IV sitting on his bed working on his colorful wood art paintings in his Brighton home, with completed pieces behind him. Bright geometric shapes are seen on a circular and square piece of wood.

“Since the pandemic, I’ve taken up painting vibrant color art on wood canvases as gifts for friends, family, and acquaintances closest to me. Painting’s helped enrich my life by ultimately making the connections I’m grateful to have even more meaningful in this tumultuous time. I’m gradually adding paintings to a dedicated Instagram (@foleywoodart), too! It’s been an interesting way for me to exercise my creativity outside of making websites for Boston University’s many schools, centers, and programs.”

Daniel Spiess, Questrom Feld Center for Industry Alliances industry relations manager

Marc scatamacchia, bu research support associate vice president, industry engagement hobby: oyster shucking and cooking with oysters.

Photo of Daniel Spiess (left), with husband Marc Scatamacchia shucking oysters at their home in Ogunquit, Maine. The two smile widely and wear gloves while holding oysters; a tray of shucked and unshucked oysters sit on counter before them.

Spiess (left), with husband Scatamacchia shucking oysters at their home in Ogunquit, Maine.  

“What was supposed to have been our weekend place in Maine turned into more than that due to the pandemic.,” Spiess says. “Given the time we had on our hands, we explored what was around us and the many oyster farms are kind of a natural and safe place to go—a lot of the space they have is outside. We visited Glidden Point Oysters on the Damariscotta River for a couple of dozen oysters to snack on and the server let us know that they don’t shuck the oysters for us. Seeing our panic, she calmly said that she would show us and assured us that it’s actually fun. She was absolutely correct, and we ended up buying shucking gloves and knives right there. It’s been a nice way to focus on something culinarily new to us during the pandemic, since like many people, we had kind of exhausted our recipe repertoire. While we had typically left things like bivalves to the experts, we’ve gained some expertise about new and different varieties of oysters, oyster farms and vendors along the coast, and recipes for cooking and grilling. Basically, it’s tasty and fun.” 

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cydney scott

Cydney Scott has been a professional photographer since graduating from the Ohio University VisCom program in 1998. She spent 10 years shooting for newspapers, first in upstate New York, then Palm Beach County, Fla., before moving back to her home city of Boston and joining BU Photography. Profile

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There are 5 comments on Photo Essay: BU Community Takes Up New, Sometimes Not-So-New, Hobbies during Pandemic

I absolutely love this! It gives us hope for the future and makes us feel good about life again. So many great ideas for hobbies! Thank you.

This is excellent on so many levels. The photography is beautiful and personal. The stories are timeless and a wonderful way we can pause and look around at what we are going through- and how we are managing. This is a treasure now and for years to come when we ask ourselves- how did we make it?

Thanks, Cydney!

At a time when “instant” micro-second media blitzes us continually, it’s refreshing and reassuring to take a moment to really focus on pictures that tell us stories about who we are and how we are coping in these difficult times.

You’ve obviously got a wonderful talent for capturing the moment, expressions, lighting, mood and significance of our hobby passions.

We all are lucky and grateful for you coming up with the photo essay idea and for sharing it with us all!

Cheers to you and hope for safe and happy holidays for all of your family (including all of us at BU)!

A lovely reminder of people finding joy and creativity during difficult times! Thank you, Cydney!

This piece was beautiful! The many stories and personalities showing through was inspiring. It is nice to see people looking so happy enjoying some of the new and revisited hobbies within the BU community. Happy holidays!

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Photo Essays with Students

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Anna Walker-Roberts, Teacher, Science Leadership Academy

The SLA CTE Digital Video program is a 3-year course during which students complete 1080 hours of instructional time in digital filmmaking and cinematography. The 3-year CTE Digital Video curriculum guides students through analyzing film/tv, making short videos on their cell phones, pre-production strategies, editing software, sound design, lighting set-ups, operating a DSLR camera manually, operating Sony ENG and Blackmagic cinema cameras, screenwriting, acting, directing, experiential media, and more. Students work alone, in small groups, and on large teams in projects that happen in class and all over Philadelphia.

We have a mantra in our class: “Filmmaking is problem solving.” When students run out of camera battery on a shoot, lose their files, have an actor quit mid-project, or realize their mic didn’t record, we practice saying this phrase out loud. On the first day of DigVid class I say this and ask that students who aren’t interested in problem solving drop the class. A film never goes completely according to plan. The 2019-2020 school year gave a different meaning to our phrase.

Our school, Science Leadership Academy, moved locations in the summer of 2019, and our new building was not complete before school started. One of the spaces that was still under construction in August of 2019 was the Digital Video classroom. We started the year with all our gear and computers in storage, and we shared a classroom with a history class. The door to the storage closet didn’t open and some of the flooring was missing because of exposed piping.  We had class anyway. Creating a learning environment became problem solving.

Nineteen days into the school year it was discovered that our building was an active asbestos site. The inspector general recently published an in-depth publication about the mismanagement that led to this situation. Our school was displaced for three weeks. We attended stressful town halls and read about our school in the newspaper.  Connecting with each other became problem solving.

We then transitioned to meeting on the first floor of the school district building and the basement of a nearby synagogue. Some classes met in storage spaces that had concrete floors. Carpet dividers separated some classes. The synagogue basement didn’t have wifi. My Digital Video class met in a district computer lab. I rolled some of my equipment down two city blocks on plastic carts so that my students could have some semblance of a normal year. We lived in that computer lab for four months. It felt like living in a hotel. How long would we stay there? Planning for the future was problem solving.

On President’s Day weekend, after significant asbestos abatement, we finally moved back into our building. For the first time that school year the Digital Video program had a space. Parents came to the school over the weekend to help me find my equipment, unpack it, decorate the room, and organize the storage. On February 18 th , students had class in a proper space for the first time that school year. Computers still needed to be set up, storage needed to be labeled. The sound board needed to be found. Coming home was problem solving.

We spent an additional week moving in, updating software, and adjusting to the space, before starting one of our favorite activities of the year, 10 Day Film Challenge. Students jumped into the film challenge excited to make movies with each other, using a lot of our equipment for the first time that year. We wrapped up the last day of the film challenge on March the 13th in the midst of an announcement from Dr. Hite that we would be out of school for two weeks. I elbow-fived my student coordinator and jokingly yelled, “Have a great summer.” Nineteen days in our new space and we were already leaving. I have not seen most of those students in person since that day. Processing that is problem solving.

My priority as a teacher became completely about caring for student well-being rather than continuing my curriculum. Students were babysitting their siblings, working essential jobs, and struggling to access the internet. Their sleep schedules were out of whack. For seniors, the grief about their senior year was overwhelming. We had planned to create an immersive projection art gallery as a class with the theme of “Change.” That gallery will never exist. Realizing that your plans are cancelled is problem solving.

I stepped back from the class, realizing that I couldn’t modify our usual course material for the online format. I asked the questions, “How can this be fun?”, “How can this be simple?”, “How can this address our current moment?” I went back in time. I thought analog instead of digital. I came up with the idea to purchase a disposable camera for each of my senior students so they could capture their experience in the pandemic. I drove each of these cameras to their houses and dropped them off from a distance. The only instruction given to students was to take what they had learned about storytelling over the course of three years and capture their lives during covid. Life is problem solving.

Following are selected photos from the project: 

Articles in this Volume

[tid]: dedication, [tid]: new tools for a new house: transformations for justice and peace in and beyond covid-19, [tid]: black lives matter, intersectionality, and lgbtq rights now, [tid]: the voice of asian american youth: what goes untold, [tid]: beyond words: reimagining education through art and activism, [tid]: voice(s) of a black man, [tid]: embodied learning and community resilience, [tid]: re-imagining professional learning in a time of social isolation: storytelling as a tool for healing and professional growth, [tid]: reckoning: what does it mean to look forward and back together as critical educators, [tid]: leader to leaders: an indigenous school leader’s advice through storytelling about grief and covid-19, [tid]: finding hope, healing and liberation beyond covid-19 within a context of captivity and carcerality, [tid]: flux leadership: leading for justice and peace in & beyond covid-19, [tid]: flux leadership: insights from the (virtual) field, [tid]: hard pivot: compulsory crisis leadership emerges from a space of doubt, [tid]: and how are the children, [tid]: real talk: teaching and leading while bipoc, [tid]: systems of emotional support for educators in crisis, [tid]: listening leadership: the student voices project, [tid]: global engagement, perspective-sharing, & future-seeing in & beyond a global crisis, [tid]: teaching and leadership during covid-19: lessons from lived experiences, [tid]: crisis leadership in independent schools - styles & literacies, [tid]: rituals, routines and relationships: high school athletes and coaches in flux, [tid]: superintendent back-to-school welcome 2020, [tid]: mitigating summer learning loss in philadelphia during covid-19: humble attempts from the field, [tid]: untitled, [tid]: the revolution will not be on linkedin: student activism and neoliberalism, [tid]: why radical self-care cannot wait: strategies for black women leaders now, [tid]: from emergency response to critical transformation: online learning in a time of flux, [tid]: illness methodology for and beyond the covid era, [tid]: surviving black girl magic, the work, and the dissertation, [tid]: cancelled: the old student experience, [tid]: lessons from liberia: integrating theatre for development and youth development in uncertain times, [tid]: designing a more accessible future: learning from covid-19, [tid]: the construct of standards-based education, [tid]: teachers leading teachers to prepare for back to school during covid, [tid]: using empathy to cross the sea of humanity, [tid]: (un)doing college, community, and relationships in the time of coronavirus, [tid]: have we learned nothing, [tid]: choosing growth amidst chaos, [tid]: living freire in pandemic….participatory action research and democratizing knowledge at knowledgedemocracy.org, [tid]: philly students speak: voices of learning in pandemics, [tid]: the power of will: a letter to my descendant, [tid]: photo essays with students, [tid]: unity during a global pandemic: how the fight for racial justice made us unite against two diseases, [tid]: educational changes caused by the pandemic and other related social issues, [tid]: online learning during difficult times, [tid]: fighting crisis: a student perspective, [tid]: the destruction of soil rooted with culture, [tid]: a demand for change, [tid]: education through experience in and beyond the pandemics, [tid]: the pandemic diaries, [tid]: all for one and 4 for $4, [tid]: tiktok activism, [tid]: why digital learning may be the best option for next year, [tid]: my 2020 teen experience, [tid]: living between two pandemics, [tid]: journaling during isolation: the gold standard of coronavirus, [tid]: sailing through uncertainty, [tid]: what i wish my teachers knew, [tid]: youthing in pandemic while black, [tid]: the pain inflicted by indifference, [tid]: education during the pandemic, [tid]: the good, the bad, and the year 2020, [tid]: racism fueled pandemic, [tid]: coronavirus: my experience during the pandemic, [tid]: the desensitization of a doomed generation, [tid]: a philadelphia war-zone, [tid]: the attack of the covid monster, [tid]: back-to-school: covid-19 edition, [tid]: the unexpected war, [tid]: learning outside of the classroom, [tid]: why we should learn about college financial aid in school: a student perspective, [tid]: flying the plane as we go: building the future through a haze, [tid]: my covid experience in the age of technology, [tid]: we, i, and they, [tid]: learning your a, b, cs during a pandemic, [tid]: quarantine: a musical, [tid]: what it’s like being a high school student in 2020, [tid]: everything happens for a reason, [tid]: blacks live matter – a sobering and empowering reality among my peers, [tid]: the mental health of a junior during covid-19 outbreaks, [tid]: a year of change, [tid]: covid-19 and school, [tid]: the virtues and vices of virtual learning, [tid]: college decisions and the year 2020: a virtual rollercoaster, [tid]: quarantine thoughts, [tid]: quarantine through generation z, [tid]: attending online school during a pandemic.

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photo essay during pandemic

Photo Essay: NCH Doctors & Nurses Reflect on Profession During Pandemic

Chaplain Jennifer on call at NCH North Hospital Campus.

Each year, hospitals and facilities across the country celebrate nurses and healthcare staff during the month of May. Photographer Lisette Morales visited NCH North Naples Hospital to photograph staff on the front lines of the coronavirus, where NCH medical professionals reflect on their profession – and mental state – during a pandemic.

Dr. Douglas Harrington, a Naples Pulmonologist working in the front-lines of the pandemic, checks on a COVID-19 patient in an adapted I.C.U. negative air-pressure room at NCH North Hospital Campus.

"As critical care physicians and intensivists, we work 7 days in a row in the same ICU to optimize continuity and team dynamics, putting the patient first," said Dr. Douglas Harrington . "The average [I work] a week is 80 to 90 hours."

He says that at the end of each day, he takes time to reflect on what occurred that day, and what tomorrow may bring.

"The time to truly relax is when your 7-day schedule is completed, and I do try to relax each night when home in my garden and with my family. However, you never can completely turn off the switch when you work seven days in a row," said Harrington.

Respiratory Therapist Kitty Koshko waits for Dr. Douglas Harrington to exit an adapted negative air-pressure room in the COVID-19 Unit at NCH North Hospital Campus so she can go in and perform her duties.

Pediatric Nurse Gail Collins says that she is relieved that the pandemic hasn’t affected Southwest Florida as much as she had originally anticipated, but she remains apprehensive as to what will happen in the coming months. She works three twelve-hour shifts per week.

"I arrive at 6:30 AM, take reports, and then work with my 2-3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) babies for the remainder of my shift."

Collins says NICU nurses help one another with admissions and more complicated or demanding assignments. "I like to go for long walks on days I don’t work and this provides time for reflection and relaxation."

NCH lab technician checks labels on COVID-19 tests.

Kitty Koshko, NCH Respiratory Therapist, says her schedule changes each week.

"It’s what works for me," said Koshko. She says she treats every day as a day of reflection and a day of hope. "[I] embrace the challenges of the day and hope to make a difference," said Koshko.

Four dedicated medical staff inside the I.C.U. COVID-19 Unit pause for a moment while working long hours in the front-lines of the pandemic at NCH North Hospital Campus.

Doctor Harrington says with the support of the staff and administration, and all following the PPE guidelines, he feels safe working at NCH during this outbreak of coronavirus.

"As critical care physicians, we are trained and work in an environment of high pressure, fast-paced, difficult decisions, attention to detail, and teamwork," said Harrington.

Dr. Douglas Harrington, a Naples Pulmonologist working in the front-lines of the pandemic, checks on a COVID-19 patient in an adapted I.C.U. negative air-pressure room at NCH North Hospital Campus.

"I feel safe [at work] as we have good support and adequate PPE and supplies currently," said Gail Collins. "We receive updates via conference calls three days per week."

Collins says the conference calls inform staff about how NCH is responding to COVID-19 challenges.

NCH lab technician handling plasma used for the treatment of critically ill patients with COVID-19.

Kitty Koshko says she feels "absolutely" safe while working at NCH right now, but the community at large is what has exceeded her expectations.

"I would’ve been lost without them," said Koshko. "I really appreciated the generosity and donations that I could've never expected."

A group photo of medical staff working int he front-lines at NCH North Hospital Campus.

"The community support has been phenomenal, especially some of the local restaurants providing meals to the hospital staff and stores providing necessary home supplies to hospital employees," said Harrington.

NCH Nurse with donated lunches

"I have never felt so appreciated!" said Gail Collins. "The community has provided many meals, gift cards, and other tokens of appreciation, and friends and neighbors are supportive of health care professionals."

Registered Nurse Watson Camilus shows off his joyful jazz hands during one of his long shifts at NCH North Hospital Campus

As far as handling a pandemic in the future, these health professionals offer a bit of advice.

"You have to stay focused, engaged, and informed," said Dr. Harrington. "Listen to the guidelines. Become involved and support some aspects of the response. In the future, we need to have learned from the present pandemic and be better prepared, hopefully, less reactionary and have all aspects of the response teams work together."

Medical staff putting on their PPEs at NCH North Hospital Campus.

"Be open-minded and embrace the challenge, but be smart," said Kitty Koshko.

"Listen to the experts, ignore unreliable sources, believe in science, and be patient," said Gail Collins. "Never underestimate the power of kind words and gestures."

The desk of a nurse at NCH North Hospital Campus.

Inside Indonesia

  • Book review: The journey of Australia’s first Asian language

Photo essay: A pandemic in pictures

  • Photo Essay

More than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus is still having unforeseen impacts

Indonesia has followed a common trajectory to many nations. From underplaying the presence or impact of the virus in the early days, implementing a 'lockdown' of sorts (in Indonesia known as Large-Scale Social Restrictions, Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar: PSBB) and then strategically emerging from it, to securing a vaccine deal with China. As a nation with some 70 per cent of workers in the informal economy, a harsh and long-term lockdown was always going to be hard to implement on a national scale. Many communities enforced their own 'lockdown mandiri'. Somewhat more problematically, in various cities the police called on preman (local thugs to help enforce the wearing of masks and the following of other health protocols. 

Banners, murals and signs have sprung up on city streets, creating a very public reminder of efforts to combat the spread of the virus. The pandemic has also left its mark on the urban landscape in other ways: the Wisma Atlet in Kemayoran, used for the Asian Games in 2018, has been turned into a make-shift hotel for COVID-19 patients in self-isolation. As Ahmad’s photos show, cemeteries too have been filled to overflowing with those who have died from the coronavirus. New cemeteries have had to be built; providing grim material evidence of the virus’s reach and in turn rendering statistics on infection numbers somewhat irrelevant. 

The eerie quietude of Jakarta during PSBB, provided a glimpse of what the city would look like if its pollution was brought under control. But the PSBB asymmetrically disadvantaged the urban poor: little wonder there were riots when the Jokowi-led government sought to implement the RUU Cipta Kerja or so-called Omnibus Law on Job Creation, which further compromised workers’ rights. 

I contacted Ahmad Tri Hawaari after following his photographs on Instagram. With visiting Indonesia almost impossible, I have found his imagery particularly useful in mediating the separation that those of us outside Indonesia may be experiencing. I think of the risks Ahmad takes to be 'out in the field' everyday, including risking exposure to COVID-19 (he has already had it once.) Ahmad’s photographs have an immediacy, vibrancy and clarity. They are neither sentimental or euphoric. But reveal his empathy with his subjects as he tracks the trajectory of Indonesia during this Pandemic Time. 

Andy Fuller, April 2021

photo essay during pandemic

Ahmad Tri Hawaari  studies journalism at Muhammadiyah University of Prof. Dr. Hamka, Jakarta. He recently completed a four month internship at Tempo magazine. His Instagram account is @ahmadtrihawaari.

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BYU at 150: The university prophets have foretold

photo essay during pandemic

The first song I ever knew all the words to was the BYU Fight Song. I would ask my mom to sing it to me before I went to bed at night. My earliest memories were of watching football games, walking campus, and planning my future as a BYU cougar.

Imagine the devastation when, one fateful day in 2018, I got an email that read: “We are honored that you chose to apply to Brigham Young University. After a thorough review of your application, we regret that we are unable to offer you admission.”

This left me to battle a question I never thought I would need to: What do you do when the one thing you have worked toward your entire life is taken away from you in two sentences of an email?

Becoming Lost

After my rejection, I spiraled. I began attending Utah Valley University and lost myself. I hated being at church because it reminded me of everything I didn’t have, and I hated being at home because the people I chose to surround myself with did not bring out the best in me.

I chose to become lost; I wanted to throw away the person I was because, clearly, she was not good enough. I stopped reading my scriptures, praying and trying to understand what was happening at church. Everyone in my life noticed this change in me, and to this day my family refers to this time in my life as my “Dark Days.”

In all the darkness I became a part of at that time, God was watching over me. Somehow, in all the gloom, He led me to a session of General Conference, where He had inspired M. Joseph Brough to speak on facing trials in the Lord’s way.

In this talk, Brough relays the story of his daughter being called on a mission. Previously, she had lived with her family in Guatemala during Brough’s time serving as a mission president. His daughter struggled throughout the three years, and at the conclusion of her family’s service, she told her father she had already served a mission and would not be going on another.

“About six months later, the Spirit awoke me in the night with this thought: ‘I have called your daughter to serve a mission,’” Brough said.

As soon as I heard those words, I knew that I, too, was called to serve. I did not have a testimony, I had never read the Book of Mormon and I was content to fade into inactivity. God had other plans for me.

Becoming a Disciple

I did not want to serve a mission. I began making excuses to delay turning in the life-altering paperwork. In my journal from that time, I wrote: “I told God today that I couldn’t go on a mission because I cannot not wear pants for that long. Today, I got an email saying sister missionaries can now wear pants in the field.”

I also told God that I could not possibly serve a mission because I could not go that long without talking to my family on the phone. The next day, it was announced that missionaries could call home each week. Out of excuses, I turned in my paperwork and was called to serve the people of Las Vegas, Nevada. No part of me was excited.

During my mission, I came to know God again. I came to love Him, trust His plan for me and accept that my life had a different trajectory that I originally planned. Although I did not want to, I knew I needed to reapply to BYU while I was on my mission. Writing the application essays from a Bluetooth keyboard on my phone, I prepared for another rejection letter to arrive in my inbox. It never came. I was accepted to BYU and prepared to attend, begrudgingly.

Becoming BYU

President C. Shane Reese spoke in his September 2023 inaugural address about the idea of “Becoming BYU.” When I first heard this address as a junior at BYU, I thought President Reese was thinking of making big changes to the school. I imagined him changing the things I saw that were “wrong” at BYU, making the school more easily stomached by the mainstream world. I realized later that I completely missed the point.

“Our task is to become the university that prophets have foretold — to become the world’s ‘greatest institution of learning’ and ‘the fully anointed university of the Lord about which so much has been spoken in the past,’” Reese said.

Becoming BYU, to me, is not about becoming something new; it is about looking to past prophecies and becoming what it was always intended to be. Throughout my time at BYU, I have tried to change who I am. I wanted to fit the perfect Provo mold, be the perfect returned missionary I thought God wanted me to be.

President Reese has taught me I am intended to be something much different than any mold. I need to become the person God has always intended me to be, much like BYU needs to become the beacon of spiritual and intellectual knowledge God has always intended it to be.

“Becoming BYU requires individual reflection and spiritual growth from all of us,” Reese said.

I submit that each of us are on a path to become our own version of BYU. Each of us that walks past the Wilkinson Student Center or cheers at LaVell Edwards Stadium has been called to Become BYU, personally and collectively. This transformation looks radically different for each of us, but if there is one thing I have learned on my pursuit to Become BYU, it is that God is individually preparing, cheering and shaping us.

He took a lost, confused and hurt young girl and transformed her into a missionary. He took that same missionary and transformed her into the woman I am today. I know that, with a lot of time and hard work, he can take me, and this university, and shape us into the fulfilment of centuries-old prophecies.


What it’s like to be undocumented at byu, letting go of the burden of hate to feed thousands: the story of the black 14, byu school of music presents ‘così fan tutte’.


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    People have learned how to live with the virus, and getting the vaccine has become about as normal as getting a yearly flu jab. As COVID-19 sent shock waves around the world, a state of emergency ...

  7. COVID-19 photo essay: We're all in this together

    Hundreds of millions of babies are expected to be born during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fionn, son of Chloe O'Doherty and her husband Patrick, is among them. The couple says: "It's all over. We did ...

  8. Life, emptiness and resolve: A photo essay on the pandemic's toll along

    The shop has sold spiritual-themed items for 36 years. Anthony Ponce, 36, has been helping his grandmother, Maria Elena Ceron, 89, with the business during the pandemic by building up its online ...

  9. 'COVID-19 Threw a Curve Ball at Us': Student Photo Essays Document Life

    With these words, Duke student Nneka Nwabueze begins a photo essay of student life during the pandemic. It's part of a class project Digital Documentary Photography: Education, Childhood, and Growth (DOCTST 209S / FS), a Center for Documentary Studies course taught by Susie Post-Rust.

  10. Cuba during the pandemic

    Cuba during the pandemic - photo essay. Avril and her friend are students at the National Ballet School, and train at home. Photographer Leysis Quesada Vera describes life during the pandemic in ...

  11. Photo Essay Captures How COVID-19 Has Transformed BU

    Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English. Statistics or facts must include a citation or a link to the citation. There are 7 comments on Photo Essay Captures How COVID-19 Has ...

  12. Faith during the Covid pandemic

    by Suki Dhanda. My parents outside their local temple, Ramgarhia Sikh gurdwara, in Slough. Behind them is the Khanda flag, a sign for all Sikhs and people from other faiths that they can come here ...

  13. Photo essay: Montreal's new normal during the pandemic

    Photo essay: Montreal's new normal during the pandemic One image at a time, Gazette photographers focus our eyes on a city transformed by COVID-19. An illustration of life as we now know it.

  14. How do teenagers live in lockdown?

    During the day, apart from web-school and homework, I contact friends, both Italian and from my school here in Tanzania. I can read and listen to music much more than usual. In the afternoon I ...

  15. Photo Essay: Artists Keep Creativity Flowing During Pandemic

    The artistic sectors have been disproportionally affected since the pandemic began, from visual arts to performative arts. In a study of America's creative economy published in August of last year, the Brookings Institute estimated, "losses of more than 2.3 million jobs and $74 billion in average monthly earnings for the creative ...

  16. BU Then…and Now

    Photo essay captures how COVID-19 pandemic has transformed life on Comm Ave This special photo essay demonstrates the changes to BU's Charles River and Medical Campuses wrought by COVID-19. Side-by-side images show campus landmarks before—and during—the pandemic.

  17. Young Lives Photo Essay

    Staying hopeful in a pandemic: a photo essay. As well as having their studies disrupted, many young people have had to deal with mental health struggles, losing loved ones, family job losses. What's remarkable is how they adapt and take control of their situation even when surrounded by so much uncertainty and change. 30 December 2020.

  18. Alone Together: A Pandemic Photo Essay by Leah Hennel

    4.38. 8 ratings2 reviews. Photojournalist Leah Hennel's intimate portfolio of photos documenting the impact of COVID-19 on life in Alberta during the pandemic. Leah Hennel has been documenting Alberta's frontline workers and the COVID-19 patients they care for as an Alberta Health Services staff photographer since the early days of the ...

  19. Photo Essay: BU Community Takes Up New, Sometimes Not-So-New, Hobbies

    Earlier this fall, we reached out to members of the BU community and asked them to share with us the hobbies they have discovered or rediscovered during the pandemic for a special photo essay. BU photographer Cydney Scott came up with the idea for the project after interviewing a student who told her she'd decided to learn how to skateboard ...

  20. Alone Together: A Pandemic Photo Essay

    Books. Alone Together: A Pandemic Photo Essay. Leah Hennel. RMB Rocky Mountain Books, 2022 - Photography - 252 pages. Photojournalist Leah Hennel's intimate portfolio of photos documenting the impact of COVID-19 on life in Alberta during the pandemic. Leah Hennel has been documenting Alberta's frontline workers and the COVID-19 patients they ...

  21. Photo Essays with Students

    The SLA CTE Digital Video program is a 3-year course during which students complete 1080 hours of instructional time in digital filmmaking and cinematography.The 3-year CTE Digital Video curriculum guides students through analyzing film/tv, making short videos on their cell phones, pre-production strategies, editing software, sound design, lighting set-ups, operating a DSLR camera manually ...

  22. Photo Essay: NCH Doctors & Nurses Reflect on Profession During Pandemic

    Dr. Douglas Harrington, a Naples Pulmonologist working in the front-lines of the pandemic, checks on a COVID-19 patient in an adapted I.C.U. negative air-pressure room at NCH North Hospital Campus.

  23. Photo essay: A pandemic in pictures

    More than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus is still having unforeseen impacts. Indonesia has followed a common trajectory to many nations. From underplaying the presence or impact of the virus in the early days, implementing a 'lockdown' of sorts (in Indonesia known as Large-Scale Social Restrictions, Pembatasan Sosial Berskala ...

  24. In Photos: What Solar Eclipse-Gazing Has Looked Like Through History

    What Solar Eclipse-Gazing Has Looked Like for the Past 2 Centuries. Millions of people on Monday will continue the tradition of experiencing and capturing solar eclipses, a pursuit that has ...

  25. BYU at 150: The university prophets have foretold

    BYU is nearing its 150-year anniversary. (BYU Photo) The first song I ever knew all the words to was the BYU Fight Song. I would ask my mom to sing it to me before I went to bed at night. My ...

  26. O.J. Simpson Trial Served as a Landmark Moment for Domestic Violence

    But it began increasing in 2015, with a sharper uptick during the pandemic, when lockdowns kept many women at home with their abusers, reaching a rate of 1.3 per 100,000 women in 2020. The vast ...