Simple Ways That Photographers Can Help the World During the Crisis of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Simple Ways That Photographers Can Help the World During the Crisis of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Most of the world is in some form of lockdown, but it doesn’t mean that we have no way of making a difference.

By now, you must have found out that a lot of major cities and countries have been going on community quarantines and lockdowns in order to lessen the transmission of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus better known as the COVID-19. In effect, major industries have shut down and that does not exclude ours. Millions of photographers around the world in the affected cities are left with no work due to all the cancellations of events, projects, and campaigns worldwide.

Why This Inconvenience Is Necessary

While the lockdowns are unfortunate, basic knowledge of epidemiology proves that it these are absolutely necessary. The mandatory quarantine for the communities significantly inhibit the transmission of the virus from an asymptomatic infected individual who remains undetected. If the transmission is decreased exponentially then we can greatly reduce the number of new cases and consequently the number of mortalities from the said pandemic. While an absolute treatment regimen is still yet to be established, this effort is, at the moment, our best shot at lessening the impact not just on public health but also the economy and every single way that it governs our daily lives.

This is where we step in. Right off the bat, we have to acknowledge the fact that any decent photographer has some sort of social media influence. This may or may not be directly because you’re a good photographer but because your photos can be compelling enough to convey a message. Nowadays, especially during this time where most people have nothing to do at home, social media is cluttered with digital noise that distracts us from the valuable kinds of media and worse, fake news. Photographers can take advantage of this to fuel some sort of social change or at least reinforce compliance with what the world’s governments are at least trying to do to pacify the effects of this pandemic.

Use Your Photographs to Amplify Important Messages

Often, the materials that are released by government agencies and the World Health Organization can be text-heavy and overwhelming. These posters and announcements give us almost all the information we need because of that, sometimes they need to be reinforced by images to better illustrate what is being said. When we get verified information that may need to be disseminated to the public, contributing one of your old photos can be very helpful if they are visually appealing and accurately illustrate the message that needs to be conveyed. 

"The Space Between" by Photographer Evan Grabador
Evan posted this photo to remind people to maintain social distance which is one of the ways recommended to reduce viral transmission

Using your compelling images may also be a way to reinforce the battle against misinformation. It’s disappointing to see that at a time like this, many people still propagate misleading or totally erroneous information. Around the world, people are sending out messages that tell people about a false cure, a false cause, and basically mislead people into some untoward actions. For example, people have been sending out messages saying that eating a lot of bananas in one day cures the COVID-19 viral infection. This has lead to hoarding ridiculous amounts of bananas enough to clear the supermarket aisles. This is also the reason why across the U.S, there seems to be a shortage on toilet paper. With a bit of research and reading from verified sources, you can use your photos to illustrate the message that corrects the misinformation. Having a compelling photograph to illustrate that helps greatly by helping the message rise above the sea of digital noise. If your photo is compelling enough to generate engagement in the form of likes, shares, and reposts, you greatly help the cause.

Your Photos Can Tell the Story

It’s both surprising and disappointing to see that many people in the world deny the fact that this is even happening. On this site alone, on my previous article, The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Shutting Down the Photography Industry on Every Scale” where I talked about how the virus has affected the lives of photographers, manufacturers, dealers, distributors, and any other related line of work to photography, quite the handful of comments were insisting that the situation wasn’t real. Perhaps because their area hasn’t been hit as badly as others and the visuals or lack thereof have not convinced them that this alarming crisis is actually happening. Your photos, or even those being shared by credible media outlets, can help them understand that the pandemic isn’t something to be taken lightly.

 

Use Your Photographs to Set an Example

Captured at home by photographer Jaira Tuazon

Even while locked down in their homes, many people have been photographing regular things they find at home. From random selfies, food, toys, or their family members, documenting the fact that you are staying home may be of some value. By simply showing that you are complying to the efforts to minimize virus transmission, even in a small way, sets an example to the people who view your social media posts. Even in the smallest ways, you can be an influencer for something that is very important and of so much value.

Use Your Photographs to Uplift

There's nothing more uplifting than an adorable pet photo

Whether due to health reasons, due to anxiety about the current situation, or due to the economic implications of the pandemic, people need random reasons to smile and your photographs can be of so much help. Whether you’re sharing photos from a recent travel or some snapshots of pleasant things you found to photograph at home, you as a photographer have the power to brighten up someone’s day. That may not be the cure to COVID-19 but it can still make a world of difference.

Use Your Photographs to Document the Experience

A super telephoto night shot from my window

Everyone who is being affected by this in any way would have a story to tell. Obviously, we should leave the serious stuff to the photojournalists to avoid being an added transmitter of the virus, but within the bounds of what the community quarantine guidelines allow you, document the experience not just for ours but for future generations. It’s not everyday that you would see the usually busy streets empty, or the heavily polluted cities clear. If your home offers a unique perspective of the experience, it may very well be worth capturing.

All featured images posted with permission.

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5 Comments

Stay at home.

David Pavlich's picture

I can't say what it is like elsewhere, but here in Winnipeg, places like the local parks, downtown, the local streets, are nearly devoid of foot traffic. Because it's still winter here, there are no crowds outside milling about. Photography is nice because it can be done solo, away from people. We are not on any sort of lock down. We are under orders to keep socially distant, a wise move. People have been very considerate at the grocery and pharmacy.

Manitoba has also been lucky, so far, in that there are only 19 confirmed cases and all are travel related. That can certainly change, but if the locals continue to act as they are currently, Winnipeg may come out of this mess in a little better shape than other parts of the world.

My wife and I take walks and I bring my camera along. It is a strange feeling doing street photography in a city and all you get are streets.

Another way to help is to use those editing workstations to join Folding @ Home. A lot of photogs have powerful computers, and we can lend that computing power to help research into COVID-19. Check out foldingathome.org

Lorri Adams's picture

I'm living in New Zealand. We haven't (so far) been hit nearly as bad as so many other countries, yet we went into lockdown at midnight last night. Go Hard and Go Early is the message from the Prime Minister, and I for one am 100% behind this. We are in lock-down for 4 weeks, then reassessed. Meanwhile we can still go for walks, remembering to keep our physical distance at 2 metres or more. Supermarkets are still open, as are pharmacies, gas stations, etc. We'll all be fine if everyone does their bit.

olivier borgognon's picture

Interesting fact to me is that we have more resources than we may think, Any of us, and that's really precious, because each one of us has a different resource inside us.

For my part, I work and earn my revenue from photography, but am also a trained hypnotherapist and energy healer. With this situation of the coronavirus, all my photo revenue went blank, winter being a zero income for me during 3 months, usually kicking off in march, well... Everything got cancelled, and it's a blank, blank, zero balance, so kind of a weird situation to be in.

A few years ago, before my training in the healing & hypnosis world, I would have freaked out totally, but now I see value in my training, and how I can be of service to a whole population, and all the creatives out there.

I created some specific online one to one hypnosis sessions, distant energy healing programs, and brought to life both of my skills. Webdesign to create a website, my imagery used on my site, and my hypnotherapist skills to help others through this anxiety prone period of time. So albeit it's not bringing work to the table for creatives, it really helps focus on the essence of creativity, and how this can drive the future, when life returns to something quite different from what we have known in the past.

Should that ring a bell, check out this article on my blog :

https://www.olivierborgognon.com/when-time-stops-healing-starts/

And the healing website (with a google chrome extension to translate, it's only in french for this one, sorry).

https://www.toutestjuste.com/

Hope this gives a few ideas to some of you on how you can create your future, and build upon whatever resources you have.