Street Photography While Cities are Nearly Empty Due to the Coronavirus

One of the bizarrest effects of the coronavirus outbreak is the haunting absence of people in ordinarily busy public places. One Australian photographer set out for some street photographer during this time.

Melbourne based YouTuber and photographer, North Borders, sets out into the city to get some street portraiture as Australia begins to brace itself for counter measures to the virus. Generally, going out to do street photography during the Corvid-19 outbreak is not wise, but Austalia is a touch behind the virality curve, though they are now banning non-essential gatherings of over 100 people. Before the major cities join the like of some countries on other continents and impose a lockdown, North Borders set out to capture some portraits and street shots.

As this video shows in part, and as photojournalists are proactively capturing, the streets in usually busy cities are desolate and it's eerie and dystopian. It does, however, offer some unique image opportunities. Do not put yourself or anyone else at risk if you want to do the same; check what local authorities and your government are advising.

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10 Comments

David Love's picture

Maybe there but here in the US people think they are invincible and won't go home. I'd love some one on one time with an empty city.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Go to Vegas! A friend posted these on 3/17.

Robert - I know you added your "Do not put yourself at risk" sentence at the end of your article, but I cannot stress enough that this current situation should not be taken lightly in any way. There is a reason that governments around the world are insisting, and in some cases, enforcing, both social distancing and non-essential journeys. The highly contagious nature of the Covid-19 virus puts every one of us at risk - and the very act of going out to get some "cool" shots is both unnecessary and extremely selfish. You are putting yourselves and anyone you come into contact with at risk. Yesterday evening I spoke to colleagues in Italy.They told me that the situation there was critically serious - with deaths there increasing 19% in just 24 hours. Their advice to me was, "just don't go out unless it's essential." As professional photographers we all have an inquisitive core and want to document life, people, communities and places across the world, but a little discipline and adherence to the current advice now will mean that we are are still here to carry on once this pandemic has abated. Stay safe and stay well!

I would suggest to take a look to our friends in Italy. The situation still IS at risc. They can't handle it any longer in their hospiitals and they are looking who has best chances to survive. Those have a chance to get help, the others are let to die in tents. And then there a these Trumps and Johnsons who still think they don't have these problems and reacted too late. So I think this article isn't good at all to be posted.

The impact of the virus on cities and communities needs to be documented. Sometimes risk needs to be taken to document these events.

Oliver Saillard's picture

Photojournalists are here for that. They will be enough.

Just me's picture

City are empty cause people should stay home and try less interactions as possible.
Here I can see even phone exchange and close contact.
Not something I would be proud of doing.

David Pavlich's picture

My wife and I went for a walk the last couple of days (Winnipeg). The closest we came to others was about 10-15 feet. While I am fully aware of the urgency of this situation, I'm not sure how our walk would do any harm? The only difference between our walk and this article is that my camera was in the house.

The conventional wisdom is common sense; avoid crowds, wash hands frequently, don't touch your face until your hands have been washed. Taking pictures where there are few people isn't going to spread a virus, especially since it's outdoors.

It's not Corvid-19. There is no "r" in it. Corvids are a family of birds which include ravens, crows, rooks, jays and magpies. Nineteen corvids might be a murder, but it's not a disease.