Diary of a Pandemic: April 17, 2020
The fourth in a weekly series of curations of images made by Magnum photographers around the world, working and living under varying degrees of social restriction
The COVID-19 outbreak has seen most Magnum photographers restricted in their movements. As part of an ongoing photographer-led initiative, Magnum photographers are sharing information, updates, and new work made in these strange and difficult times.
Each week, we are featuring edits of these images, selected by project leader Peter van Agtmael, alongside personal notes and reflections from Magnum photographers on how they are experiencing the unfolding situation. Van Agtmael’s selections also include images incorporated into the ongoing collaboration between Magnum Photos and National Geographic which brings readers a global look at how coronavirus is impacting the worlds these photographers see inside—and just outside—their windows. You can see the latest iteration of the collaboration here.
New work on the crisis will be shared daily through Magnum Photos’ Instagram feed and Instagram Stories takeovers.
Reggio Emilia. Italy. March 2nd, 2020. Covid19 Crisis. Cleaning beds in Reggio Emilia hospital.
Moscow. Russia. April 8, 2020.
“The life in my neighborhood, surrounded in soviet skyscrapers has always been quiet anonymous. Many neighbors left to the countryside to stay at their summer homes. I started to observe the ones who stayed. I have noticed this dog some time ago. Now he changed his outfit- seemingly to fit to the current situation. He takes a walk at least three times a day. Sometimes in the company of a women, sometimes in the company of a man.”
Austria. Graz. April 7, 2020. Home during the Austria lockdown due to the global pandemic COVID-19.
Bristol. GB. April 5, 2020.
“The Downs is one of the largest parks in Bristol and one of the few places that remains almost the same. The weather is changing, days are longer and for many, this field seems to be the most rewarding place to be.”
Seriate. Italy. April 4, 2020.
“Due to the large number of deaths and the lack of space inside the Bergamo Cemetery and the crematorium, about 40 coffins are housed inside a church not far from the city of Bergamo. Father Mario Carminati, after the order of the Italian government to close the churches, gave the availability of the church to house 80 coffins. Periodically the Italian army withdraws the coffins by loading them on trucks to take them to the various crematorium of northern Italy.”
Santa Rosa, California. USA. March 6, 2020.
“My daughter Catalina misses her friends very much, so we did the rounds in our car and visited her best friends from far way. Here she’s breaking the rules and touching fingertips with her best friend Avery.”
Warsaw. Poland. April 4, 2020.
“I had a long chat with my neighbour Mr. Ryszard yesterday. He’s one of the most cheerful people I know. We’ve been laughing a lot sitting 2 meters from one another in his urban garden. He showed me how his wife tries to shape the tree with plastic bottles full of water. He was a little bit skeptical about this method but he also mentioned that is not his field of expertise. Urban gardens are the only areas where you can spend time outside at the moment as the status of this land is in between public and private. ”
Istanbul. Turkey. April 3, 2020.
“I was walking to home in my street and I saw a group of men sitting inside an abandoned building where they generally gather to drink cay (Turkish traditional tea). After a little hesitation, I decided to go inside and ask to shoot a portrait of this man with his makeshift mask.”
Fecamp. Normandy. France.
“Our daughter Marie and her children had been confined, infected with the virus for 12 days. Twelve hard days. We came as often as possible but it was not to enter their home. That day we had the surprise to find them playing the cello. They were finally getting better.”
Peter van Agtmael
Brooklyn, New York. USA. April 20, 2020.
“The changes in the neighborhood have been startling. One day, everyone was waiting on line for brunch, racing around the track, playing basketball, and luxuriating in the sun as spring began blooming. It became a virtual ghost town overnight. Frankly, I’m grateful. While the bars and restaurants were packed, it was clear the virus was running rampant. I can’t believe how dismissive people were of the startling infection projections from a cross section of extremely trustworthy sources.”
Thokoza. South Africa. March 28, 2020.
“Family is home, love and being together for me has changed because of the current crisis. We had to separate because the house is to small. My mother lives with my two nephews, brother, and two sisters. I’m currently staying with my girlfriend at her place. I’m thinking about a family of five or ten people that lives in a shack, and how difficult it would be for them to social distance. I remember when we where living at my house my mother would have to take a bath. We had to go outside and play with the other kids in the streets. Townships are relatively small and they were meant to confine people. We communicate often on WhatsApp and video call each other. It’s a bit difficult though.”
Brescia. Italy. March 16, 2020.
“Spedali Civili. Unit specialized in COVID-19, operates in an area specially built with tents and in the underground of the Hospital to receive infected patients.”
Delhi. India. March 28, 2020.
“I live in a one-room apartment on the terrace atop a residential building. Such rooftop apartments are called Barsati (derived from the word Barsat which means rain) It’s a very Delhi thing, this way of living, and it’s dying out slowly. Delhi was always known for its rooftop life. In some seasons especially around August you would see people flying kites from their rooftops; in the winter these spaces would have people soaking themselves in the sun. In the last few days with the lockdown, people have come up on the roofs again. I realised that I’ve been spending time here every day between 5pm and 7 pm to catch the last of the light, the temperature at this time is quite pleasant and this is also an hour when people are usually out. In India, most of the day people are inside their homes except in the winter, and it is around this time of the evening that they go out for walks, jogs, to shop, and the usual daily routine. Since restrictions were put into place, people have started making their time on the roof as a daily routine. A part of me feels like this work is about me and my rooftop more than anything else. I’m alone here… I feel curious about other people now that I’m not able to meet my friends, etc., a part of me is also feeling a bit voyeuristic, wondering from my rooftop if I can look into other people’s lives. I can sense that they are doing the same as well.”
Cristina Garcia Rodero
Madrid. Spain. April 8, 2020.
“Every day at 8 in the afternoon the balconies are filled to applaud the health workers for their courage, devotion and dedication so that there is hope of saving lives.”
Paris 75010. France. 2020.
“Stuck at home. Late afternoon drinks in the alleyway, making sure to keep at a safe distance. A man serves wine to a neighbor, pretending to wear a mask.”
Sint Amandsberg, Ghent. Belgium. March 18, 2020.
“I alternated editing my work with working in the garden and I am making some progress in both. I have no idea why it’s the first time this year that I have done it. This quarantine might be good in some ways. I am still wondering though if I can cut off the branches of an apple tree this time of the year; opinions vary. The kids of my neighbors are doing well in social distancing, great to hear them play over the fences.”