Diary of a Pandemic
The first 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.
This work will be shared through Magnum Photos’ Instagram in the form of albums and Instagram Stories takeovers, as well as here. Over coming weeks, we’ll be featuring a series of edits of these images, made by project leader Peter van Agtmael, alongside personal notes and reflections from Magnum photographers on how they are experiencing the unfolding situation.
“This quarantine feeling of standstill and peace is elusive here… Time to reflect and step out of the hustle and bustle… But instead, full-time in wonderful but nonstop 2-4 year old world, cleaning Legos, making lunches, running outside, etc, etc.”
“Standard explanation: My wife looking at her crystal ball to see if we’re going to make through this ordeal.
Alternate explanation: My wife using a steam inhaler, which may make things better, or worse, depending on whom you ask.”
“Annick has been our neighbor for 25 years now. Most pupils in Fécamp had her as their French teacher. At her request, I left the bread I got at the bakery on the low wall separating our gardens.”
“This situation makes you observe yourself from up close. But lets twist this into a positive. I actually have the feeling like I am on an artist residency. Let’s hold onto that.”
“In Russia there are only 140 people infected officially, but that can’t be true and the subway will probably soon close its doors – it only did once before, for one day in World War II.”
“We are stressed after learning two of our nephews have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
Here my wife Cloé is sitting on the coach, lost in her deep thoughts and the uncertainty of our own situation, only hoping the best for our beloved ones.”
Sim Chi Yin
In three weeks or less, you are due to join us. What a chaotic world you are being born into…. How peaceful you look inside my belly, oblivious to the craziness going on outside. We will do our best to shield you from the worst of these times.”
Carl de Keyzer
“Our Airbnb street full of cars, people obviously all at home.”
“Our 17-year old son, Milligan, is going stir-crazy already… Our gentle suggestions to use the time to tidy his room have fallen on deaf ears. But at least he has his music, and for much of the day our house is filled with piano, drums and marimba. In this respect at least, we’re very lucky.”
Cristina de Middel
“I have been myself juggling from denial to paranoia, changing my mind about the seriousness of the situation every 2 minutes, sounding careless when conversations became too dramatic and alarming whenever I was meeting someone who was not giving the right importance to the situation. Now, with half of my family in Spain and the other half in Italy, the juggling has stopped.”
“Here is London: schools closed from today, and exams cancelled. This is Sophie’s last day going in. Her friends have signed her school shirt. Caroline going back to work at A&E this afternoon.”
Peter van Agtmael
“A few months ago I paid casual attention to what was going on in Wuhan. It seemed very far away.
In the past week it’s really begun to sink in that this could become a civilizational catastrophe.”
“This is not my natural style and certainly not my natural instinct but I guess I can’t do much else other than show my surrounds. I am sure it will not produce any pictures that will stand alone and pass the test of time but photography has many uses.
So I am watching telly.
Listening to music.
Watching birds eat.
Looking at my William Morris wallpaper plus friends.
Saddened by empty guest room.
More saddened by my lonely bed.”
“Yesterday was the last day of school so we collected Thea and a bundle of home-schooling leaflets and came home to officially start our isolation. We marked the occasion with a little bonfire in the back garden and the girls played in the garden house (our Airbnb guests have all cancelled of course). Anything different is always fun for them at first. This morning Thea made a painting of the whole ‘family’ (everyone who lives in our house) and constantly refers to everything we do as ‘because of the virus’.”
“The sky over Warsaw is clear
all flights have been canceled
the sky is sealed over Poland
hugs from lockdown”