Diary of a Pandemic
Magnum photographers

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 on the Magnum Photo website. 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.

 

© Peter van Agtmael | Magnum Photos

Peter van Agtmael

I live in Brooklyn, and my parents, sister and niece live in the DC suburbs. After a few weeks of covering Corona (Covid-19) in New York, I decided I wanted to ride things out with family. My parents are in their 70’s, so first there was the necessity to self-quarantine for two weeks. My folks have a place on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where I could isolate myself. For the first few days I was joined by my close friend Christian Hansen, who was en route to his own family in Kentucky. I met Christian the week I moved to New York in 2007, and he’s like a brother to me. Though we are both asymptomatic and were very careful in New York, we kept six feet apart and sterilized surfaces in the days we were together in Easton. The only exception was when he had to help me dig out a large glass shard that got stuck in my foot. I didn’t want to visit the emergency room and risk contracting corona, so we googled some home remedies and eventually after a few shots of whiskey I was able to stab some tweezers deep into my foot and extract the shard of glass. Easton, Maryland, USA. March 26, 2020.

 

© Nanna Heitmann | Magnum Photos

Nanna Heitmann

Corona Virus Auto-Quarantine. Moscow, Russia. March 14, 2020.

 

© Mark Power | Magnum Photos

Mark Power

Monday’s extraordinary u-turn by Boris Johnson’s government, from the bizarre concept of ‘Herd immunity’, allowing the virus to naturally spread to enough people to eventually bring it to an end (until it was discovered this could result in a quarter of a million deaths) to the other extreme of family self-isolation at the first sign of the virus and advice to no longer visit pubs, clubs, cinemas, etc., has meant that most of us in the UK are pretty confused as to what to do. Our 17-year old son, Milligan, is going stir-crazy already, after his college closed it’s doors yesterday until further notice; particularly problematic because he’s supposed to be taking his ‘A’ levels in June. We’ve banned him from going to the gym (an enormous sacrifice, which we continually have to acknowledge!) and 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. Our 21-year old daughter Chilli (she of my Fuji ‘Home project) decided to come home from university at the weekend, and is now our leading crusader for self-isolation, virtually refusing to leave the house at all. The other pictures attached show the moment, this morning, when she received news that her degree show has been cancelled (not postponed, but cancelled altogether)… a bitter blow since she’s been preparing her installation for months. We feel deeply for her. Meanwhile, now that I’ve reached 60 and have an ‘underlying health condition’ (type 2 diabetes) I’m told I’m in the ‘at-risk’ category. Walking through virtually deserted streets with Kodak (my dog) yesterday, I had this strange feeling that it was all a dream and soon enough I’d be waking up. I’m still waiting. Brighton. GB. March 18, 2020.

 

© Sim Chi Yin (Sim Chi Yin documents her activities during the Coronavirus pandemic.) | Magnum Photos

Sim Chi Yin

Dear Lucas, In three weeks or less, you are due to join us. What a chaotic world you are being born into…. On Monday, your dad and I saw you in what will be our last scan before finally meeting you in person. 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. Your dad had flown here from Beijing – where he had been in a lockdown that affected all of China since late January – and painstakingly quarantined himself in the Surrey countryside before rejoining us a few days ago. But we are now entering another lockdown – in London – and the virus seems to be spreading more aggressively here than in China. Our antenatal classes where we are learning how to care for you are now conducted via Zoom. We are learning how to breastfeed you via a video link. The borough we live in has the second-highest number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in all of the UK and the hospital where you are due to be born might be quite overwhelmed. We’re told more parents are now doing home births… That was ruled out for us at first because I am an older, first-time expectant mother but we may have to consider it now. We hope you are doing well inside, and fingers and toes crossed all will be fine for your arrival. London. March 18, 2020.

 

Bieke Depoorter Belgium, 2020 © Bieke Depoorter | Magnum Photos

Bieke Depoorter

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.

 

© Stuart Franklin | Magnum Photos

Stuart Franklin

Here is London: Schools are closed and exams are canceled. 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. London. March 20, 2020.

 

David Hurn documents his activities during the Coronavirus pandemic. Tintern. Wales. GB. March 20, 2020. © David Hurn | Magnum Photos

David Hurn

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.
Reading books.
Watching birds eat.
Looking at my William Morris wallpaper plus friends.
Saddened by empty guest room.
More saddened by my lonely bed.

 

© Carl De Keyzer | Magnum Photos

Carl de Keyzer

The street where we are currently staying. We are fine but sort of stuck in the middle of our trip. Working on a new project in the US and moving from one Airbnb to the next. Most of the events I wanted to cover and schedules are cancelled. Next stops are Tulsa, Santa Fe, Phoenix in a few weeks. In Dallas for the moment. We arrived on Feb 20th, our return flight is still confirmed for May 18th. We decided to stay because the situation in Belgium is actually worse, for the moment. Dallas, Texas. USA. March 19, 2020.

 

© Rafal Milach | Magnum Photos

Rafal Milach

The sky over Warsaw is clear
all flights have been canceled
the sky is sealed over Poland
hugs from lockdown

 

© Peter van Agtmael | Magnum Photos

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. I’m not going to go to restaurants or bars or socialize with more than a few people from this point onwards. People in New York don’t seem to be taking this seriously. I’ve got food and supplies for a month, a bit more if I stretch it. I wish I’d stocked up earlier. I just paid $5 a bottle for tiny bottle of “winter jubilee” hand sanitizer. It smells absolutely terrible. Brooklyn, New York. USA. March 12, 2020.

 

© Olivia Arthur | Magnum Photos

Olivia Arthur

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.’

 

© Olivia Arthur | Magnum Photos

Olivia Arthur

Thea and Nono getting fresh air in the park. Coronavirus confinement. London. March 27, 2020.

© Lindokuhle Sobekwa | Magnum Photos

Lindokuhle Sobekwa

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. Thokoza, South Africa. March 28, 2020.

 

Larry Towell documents his activities during the Coronavirus pandemic. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos

Larry Towell

I decided that now was a good time to dig into editing my Ukraine book, a project I’d begun with the 2014 Maidan uprising. Ukraine has a long and complicated history which I’ve been struggling to visually resolve. It’s a bit like assembling a jigsaw puzzle with a blind fold on, which is why my studio looks like I just emptied a 1000 piece puzzle everywhere. Ontario, Canada. March 13, 2020.

 

© Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos

Jonas Bendiksen

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… At home with daughters Boe and Billie, as all the nursery schools are closed during the Coronavirus outbreak. Nesoddtangeen, Norway. 2020.

 

Alessandra Sanguinetti  © Alessandra Sanguinetti | Magnum Photos

Alessandra Sanguinetti

Ruby and her boyfriend came to visit. They didn’t want to come in the house since they’re coming from San Francisco. They are afraid to contaminate it. We laid in the field 6 feet apart and took pictures of each other. Petaluma, California, USA. March 20, 2020.

 

© Thomas Dworzak | Magnum Photos

Thomas Dworzak

Corona virus crisis. A family in and around New York celebrates the 1st birthday party of a child in a Zoom call. Paris, France. March 20, 2020.

 

© Enri Canaj | Magnum Photos

Enri Canaj

In front of the mirror is the reflection she loves to see. As well as the reflection of the society I want to see after this will be over. A colorful playground like our house has turned into lately. Every single room. Athens, Greece. March 29, 2020.

 

© Emin Özmen | Magnum Photos

Emin Özmen

We are stressed after learning two of our nephews have been diagnosed with Covid-19. They are 4 and 6 years old living in France, far from us. Here my wife Cloé is sitting on the couch, lost in her deep thoughts, uncertainty of our own situation, only hoping the best for our beloved ones. Here in Turkey they are announcing only 98 cases for the moment, it’s hard to believe, so we’ve been avoiding any contact with the others for a week. The situation is only starting to get worse and schools, cafes, cinemas, etc, have closed this week. President Erdogan is expected to speak later today to announce new measures. Istanbul, Turkey. March 17, 2020.

 

Diary of a Pandemic
Magnum Photographers / Magnum Photos
Visit entry March 26, 2020 >
Visit entry April 3, 2020 >

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Deepening the understanding of Maier’s oeuvre and her keenness to record, these works capture the street life of Chicago...
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Following the murder of George Floyd by police officers, demonstrations across the U.S. and beyond ignite against racism and...
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This festival is born out of the idea that the film community can come together in times of crises,...
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There is no typical Frank Walter. His abstract works are systematic, the individuality of his figurative painting is captivating,...
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