What We Learned This Week: Photography in the Age of Coronavirus

By David Schonauer   Friday March 20, 2020

This week’s news was the coronavirus crisis.

Last Friday, which already seems like a year ago, we reported on the various photography events that had been cancelled, as well as taking note of how disrupted supply chains were beginning to affect camera manufacturers.

On Monday we updated the news, noting, among other things, that the World Press Photo Awards show and festival had been cancelled, while the Palm Springs Photo Festival and the 4x5 Photo Fest in San Antonio, TX, were being postponed. Adobe announced that it will be providing free at-home access to Creative Cloud apps to those students who usually only have access on-campus. CNBC looked at how the coronavirus will impact the ad industry. The NPPA offered tips for pros on how to protect themselves.

Breaking news:

Photokina has been cancelled.

The already-cancelled NAB show is being reimagined as a virtual trade show from online platform Cinema 5D.

In other news:

Popular Photography offered advice for wedding photographers and others already feeling the financial strain caused by the virus outbreak.

SLR Lounge assessed how the virus will affect the photo industry. PetaPixel looked at how the outbreak has already changed the photo industry forever. PetaPixel also had tips on how to disinfect camera gear.

DIY Photography’s Dunja Djudjic had suggestions on how photographers can survive during a time of social distancing, from editing images and taking online courses to listening to podcasts … and taking pictures. “For example, try making some creative self-portraits. If you enjoy cooking, then maybe this is the time to practice food photography,” he writes.

PhotoShelter put together a collection of resources, from articles on COVID-19 and travel to artist assistance lists and photo trade organization resources.

We also spotlighted stories from The Washington Post, which featured images of empty sports arenas, and National Geographic, which talked with Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti about how he’s documenting a nation under lockdown. And yesterday we looked at how one photographer in Germany was bonding with his son during COVID-19 lockdown.

We also spotlighted photographer Hannah La Follette Ryan’s iPhone pictures (at top) of the very anxious hands of New York City subway riders  — hands, noted  The New Yorker, that are "squeezing small plastic bottles of sanitizer, hands twisting around each other to work the slippery alcohol serum into the skin, and hands vigorously wiping down phones."

Here are some of the other photo stories we spotlighted this week:

1. A Photographer's Parents Wave Goodbye

Photographer Deanna Dikeman spent many visits documenting the idyll of her parents’ retirement years in Sioux City, Iowa. And at the end of each visit, Dikeman’s parents would stand outside their red ranch house to send her off — a scene, noted The New Yorker, familiar to many visiting children. For more than 20 years, during every departure, Dikeman photographed her parents as they said goodbye. The result is her enormously touching portrait series “Leaving and Waving.”

2. Stephen Shore's "Small Camera Works"

Four decades into his notable career, photographer Stephen Shore is bringing out a book featuring images that have remained unseen for many of those years. The book, Transparencies: Small Camera Works 1971-1979, provides an alternate view into the production of one of Shore’s most iconic and enduring works, Uncommon Places, noted The Washington Post. While the work in that book was made using large format cameras, the new book features photos made with a  35mm camera.

3. "Porn Moms" by Mary Beth Koeth

In 2017, photographer Mary Beth Koeth attended the erotic arts convention Exxxotica Expo to explore a project about mothers working in the adult film industry. A meeting with actress and mother Emily Mena launched Koeth on a cross-country trip to meet other actresses for a series she calls “Porn Moms.” The project includes interviews with the performers about how they balance motherhood and their work. “Their lives are just as complicated as the rest of ours,” Koeth told the British Journal of Photography.

4. Elke Vogelsang Reveal Dogs' Fleeting Emotions

Dogs can be happy-go-lucky happiness machines. But the dogs in German photographer Elke Vogelsang’s portraits are experiencing some of their more intense moments of canine anticipation — like waiting for a taste of bacon cream or finding the right time to snatch a squeaky toy, noted Colossal. Vogelsang began photographing her three rescue dogs during a period of family hardship that started in 2009. “I wanted to try to keep up a bit of normality and have something like a visual diary for my husband of that time,” she says.

5. Life in Argentina's Isolated Ibera Wetlands

Buenos Aires-based photographer Gustavo Cherro has recently been working in Argentina's Esteros del Ibera, a protected wetland area in the northeastern province of Corrientes. "This wonderful place would not have reached us if the Parana River did not decide to change its course towards the north thousands of years ago, leaving a depression that became lagoons, channels, estuaries and reservoirs that absorb rainfall," he told PPD. Cherro has been documenting not only the land, but the people who live there in isolation from the modern world.


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