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Last year, when Coronavirus started spreading in New York, I teamed up with Renee Melides, a photo editor at the business desk, on a photo essay Imagined the city As it became a global epicenter of the epidemic. When that piece was just a concept and life still seemed somewhat normal, we both sat down over a coffee. To date, this is the only time I think an editor green light is an idea mid pitch.
“Yes,” Renee said stopping me in the middle. “Do it. Now.” And I went out and started taking photos.
Subsequently, anxiety and uncertainty prevailed in New York, and as the story went on, it led to the image of a man praying during a meal at McDonald’s in Greenwich Village.
With that story published, I pulled back from a daily assignment as a freelance photographer in an effort to understand the virus, as well as the risks my family and I faced. I never stop working. Instead, I passed through many parts of New York on long daily runs. Nine miles out, nine miles back. I go through different neighborhoods by shooting on my iPhone, assessing and accepting changes.
For some time, the pictures were mostly empty streets, ambulances and those sinister freezer truck morgues. Then the spring growth ended and people began to emerge, and the vulnerabilities of our city, exposed by the virus, became more apparent than ever. I will post images on my Instagram account, unsure of what to do with them or even what I was trying to say.
I could see that inequality had become more pronounced, forcing the rich and needy to share equal footpaths. I closed stores one by one on street corners until the “For Rent” sign remained, and I found myself stunned as I walked through parts of the city that had once been thrilled by tourists but were now empty. . One day in Times Square, as I waited for a pedestrian to pass through a composition, it was quiet enough for me that the sound of the traffic lights was changing.
The design of the stray roads and roads in the city quickly changed. When things were really bad, the neighborhoods changed day by day. McDonald’s I photographed back in March and had a night off, and by morning it was covered in graffiti.
In August, I photographed enjoying a $ 10 gelato next to a man sleeping in a doorway in a village in the west. After a moment Entry This, I received a note from my editor Renee.
“We have to do something on this, Ash.”
We have lost thousands of New Yorkers to Kovid-19. More than one and a half million people across the country. As vaccines were developed and the potential end of the health disaster was understood, I felt it is important to focus on another element of this crisis: the deep recession we have found in ourselves. I need to put a picture of my down economy. Along the way life brought various elements to life through people. the resulting Photo essay I needed New York for what we knew before the epidemic, but also gave a love letter to resilient people who never gave up.