All about photo: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, schools, books and venues.

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on Photographers?

Posted on April 21, 2020 - By Sandrine Hermand-Grisel
Share
What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on Photographers?
What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on Photographers?
As the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic continues to cause major disruptions to our daily lives with more than two billion people worldwide isolated in their homes, we asked renowned photographers what impact the current situation has on their life and work.

Here are their personal and heartfelt answers as well as a sample of their work.

Julia Fullerton-Batten
Julia Fullerton-Batten's Website
@julia_fullertonbatten
All about Julia Fullerton-Batten

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on your professional life?

The past few weeks have been difficult for me. Two big advertising campaigns were cancelled and I had to postpone shooting a personal fine-art project that I had been planning for the over 3 months. The result – loss of income and financial loss for bookings I'd already made.

The first assignment was for a studio shoot in London. I had already been booked but they decided to pull it because of the pandemic. I was close to winning a shoot for an ad campaign in New York when I was abruptly told that they had to select a local photographer as they couldn't justify flying me across the Atlantic. At the time the pandemic wasn't so far advanced in the USA as in the UK. Now, of course it is. As it turned out things got much worse in New York and that project was also cancelled.

My personal fine-art shoot involved a large team of models, actors, assistants, make-up artists, stylists, set designer, assistants, etc.; some of the actors were over 70 years of age. The coronavirus cases were escalating rapidly. Everyone was still up for it, and we thought to move it forward by a week, but having everyone in one space for 2 days was obviously wrong, it was my responsibility to make the decision to stop the shoot. It was hard but the right one. The hard work and planning will not be lost, I will shoot the project when the situation permits. I only hope that all my team will still be alive to join me.

As self-employed photographers, we have to fear that there will not be any assignments for quite some time to come. Also, that foreign agencies will not hire a photographer from abroad. On the other hand, maybe UK based agencies will only hire local photographers. Certainly, the future will remain uncertain for quite some time to come.

Another uncertainty became apparent recently when Vogue Italy magazine created some beautiful front covers constructed entirely from illustrations. The reason they gave was to reduce the environmental impact of photoshoots. These were their words: “What's so wasteful about the magazine's usual production? One hundred and fifty people involved. About twenty flights and a dozen or so train journeys. Forty cars on standby. Sixty international deliveries. Lights switched on for at least ten hours non-stop, partly powered by gasoline-fuelled generators. Food waste from the catering services. Plastic to wrap the garments. Electricity to recharge phones, cameras...”

Oh dear! For Vogue Italia it was much cheaper and environmentally friendlier, but what a blow to our profession. The only recompense was their claim to wish to contribute the savings towards helping the restoration of the severely damaged Venice.

To the open-minded, it is as if the world is going through a self-cleansing process right now, a detox. There has been a significant benefit to the environment as pollution has decreased and the previously very visible clouds of toxic gas hanging over industrial powerhouses have retreated.


Julia Fullerton-Batten

Burning The Past © Julia Fullerton-Batten


What do you do to get by/stay creatively active?

We are all subject to the same situation. Each of us will react in different ways and our mood swings will vary. We have to accept that we have absolutely no control over the situation and let go of any thoughts of trying to plan too much for the next month or two, perhaps even longer. For me, it is essential to remain optimistic, set myself tasks and goals, even if they are small daily ones. Exercise and fresh air are imperative for me. Regular exercise helps ease any depression or anxiety... Like many other photographers, I am used to working at home; there is some 'routine' in what I do but it is not as extreme as going into the office and my work is less repetitive than an office job. I have a degree of flexibility in my daily activities that I truly appreciate. Just a short time ago I would get up, dress and do my yoga ritual in a class in my gym, then return home for a shower and start the day. Now I need to adapt to being more confined to home, hence I find myself looking for other fulfilling activities to accomplish something positive out of the unusual circumstances.

I find that it is important for me to share and discuss ideas. It can be with anyone, not only with fellow photographers. To help overcome the current situation my family has set up a WhatsApp blog so that we can communicate easily and extensively, exchanging news and personal matters.

I have taken even more to jotting down ideas in a notebook adding simple sketches. I've also started a photographic diary of our daily existence at home, including just my husband and our two boys. It has opened my eyes to see what there is around me. Of course, it is always much easier to photograph a new exciting environment and I doubt anything will come of these images, but I do it just for me.

Today I reached out on Instagram to offer my advice to photographers that need guidance in their practice.

Tomorrow I will have a podcast for The Creative Haven, a weekly podcast in which artists and creatives are interviewed with the idea to educate and help inspire them to pursue their passions. Then in a few days, I have a couple of interviews coming in with China Newsweek Magazine.


Julia Fullerton-Batten

Petite Meller © Julia Fullerton-Batten


What advice would you like to give photographers who are struggling today? Any tips?

Keep occupied during this crisis. Here are a few ideas.

Pick up a camera and just take pictures of your family, still lives and the environment around you, see everything from a different, perhaps novel perspective.

Enter competitions! Watch out for them and decide those that are most suitable for you to enter.

Organise your next photographic shoot, do research online and plan for it.

Join and participate in the many photographers' forums.

Take advantage of free Skype portfolio reviews being offered by a number of professionals, including me!
Join in on the call by Der Greif, Vogue Italia, Magnum Photos and Picter.com for images which encourage and display global solidarity during COVID-19.

Reflect on your approach to your work, create from the heart. It will strike a truer chord with the people who view your images.
Adopt a flexible approach as to how you fit into the world, try to develop a style which reflects how you see the world as opposed to how you think the world should see you.

Read books that stimulate your imagination. It's still possible to order or read books online. One that I have just received is “A Journey Around My Room” by Xavier de Maistre . It seems particularly relevant to the situation we are now in. His room is a long rectangle, the perimeter measures thirty-six paces. Here's an extract:
When I travel through my room, I rarely follow a straight line: I go from the table towards a picture hanging in a corner; from there, I set out obliquely towards the door; but even though, when I begin, it really is my intention to go there, if I happen to meet my armchair en route, I don't think twice about it, and settle down in it without further ado.

The author plays with our imagination as he slowly leads us around his room, describing pictures on the wall, the vistas and prospects within and beyond the room, exploring and dwelling on objects that we all otherwise take for granted. He indicates that it can bring back memories, focus ideas and make us look at things anew. This may all sound like a selling pitch for the book but the idea piqued my interest in a new perspective on life.

Listen to music. One of my favourite vocalists is Rufus Wainwright. Every day I look forward to him recording a song from his home clad in his dressing gown. It is little enjoyable moments that we need during this odd time, which arouse our sensitivity to life and living.

I wish everybody all the very best. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

There will be light at the end of this dark, bleak tunnel! Let's prepare for it!


Julia Fullerton-Batten

Testament - The Lonely Road © Julia Fullerton-Batten



Julia Fullerton-Batten

The End Of The Affair © Julia Fullerton-Batten



Julia Fullerton-Batten

Aline Smithson
Aline Smithson's Website
@alinesmithson
All about Aline Smithson
The Self Quarantining Exhibition on Lenscratch

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on your professional life?

Honestly, the impact has not been profound....yet. I spend a lot of time at home, working on the computer, crafting and writing Lenscratch posts. I have a current call for images about Self-Quarantining and have gotten hundreds of submissions from around the world. Just putting together the exhibition is taking hours of my time each day. I am also working on my daily posts and in communication with many photographers. I see this moment in time as a resetting. I had six trips cancel--to teach workshops or attend portfolio reviews--and am grateful to slow down and stay put. I thought I would have some new creative energy, but that hasn't happened yet. I have cleaned my office, sleeved negatives, and am working on my images for a couple of book projects.There is no lack of things to do!

What do you do to get by/stay creatively active?

I'm working around the edges...haven't started on something new, but spending time with my older work that never got much attention. I feel creative in other ways--writing, cooking, and thinking up ideas to talk about this moment in history... but I know I will get to work soon.

What advice would you like to give photographers who are struggling today? Any tips?

Stay connected to other photographers, reach out to people whose work you admire, read, write, take this time reboot and reconnect. You can also spin self-quarantining as a time for self-care and quiet... in a way, a time of healing.


Aline Smithson

Mae Turned © Aline Smithson



Aline Smithson

Arrangement #14 © Aline Smithson



Aline Smithson

Melanesia © Aline Smithson



Aline Smithson

Beth in the Bath © Aline Smithson



Aline Smithson

Not As Interesting © Aline Smithson


Emmanuel Monzon
Emmanuel Monzon's Website
@emmanuelmonzonphotography
All about Emmanuel Monzon

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on your professional life?
First all, the impact is quite important as I had to cancel all my trips for the series I was working on. I do respect quite thoroughly the instructions of the confinment in Washington State. Sadly, I can't really do any photos outside as it is not responsible. It is indeed a difficult time, and I think about everyone that are outside as an obligation of their work and the risk they are taking for us. Our sole obligation, as citizen, is to stay home.

What do you do to get by/stay creatively active?
I simply relapsed in my archive of photos where I noticed that I had a lot of sorting to do, which helps me rediscover my old photos and to create new series. If the confinment still persists, I fear that I will reach the end of this activity.

What advice would you like to give photographers who are struggling today? Any tips?
Sadly, I think about the professional photographers with contract who cannot currently work, it must be difficult financially for them, especially in the United States, where there are not a lot of helps for freelance photographers. Paradoxally, sometimes taking a break in their work helps people find new creativity and new paths to explore. This constraint can be beneficial for creativity. Nevertheless, the only sensible advice I can give, is to stay home.


Emmanuel Monzon

© Emmanuel Monzon



Emmanuel Monzon

© Emmanuel Monzon



Emmanuel Monzon

© Emmanuel Monzon

It was important for me to maintain in my selection the photo where Trump Tower appears. I find that this photo is completely disconnected with the outrageous character that is in charge of this pandemic crisis. This isolated tower surrounded by a fence of advertisement braging ironically the Asian continent, seems to answer him as a mirror does in this current situation. There is in this image, a false tenderness, a sort of venomous poetry. We are in the heart of the cyclone, everything is strangely calm and peaceful.


Emmanuel Monzon

© Emmanuel Monzon



Emmanuel Monzon

© Emmanuel Monzon


Beth Moon
Beth Moon's Website
@bethmoonphotography
All about Beth Moon

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on your professional life?

On many levels this is an introspective time for me as I imagine for many others. Cancelled trips, exhibitions, and photo fairs are at best disappointing, but the silver lining has been having the time to process work that I haven’t had time to do the past couple of years. Slowing down is an art, focus is a discipline. I can get swept up in the energy of a busy schedule, but for me the important work comes with long spans of quiet time.

What do you do to get by/stay creatively active?

I get inspired by seemingly unrelated forms of art, (but actually they are all connected somehow!) such as painting, music, and literature. Museums are usually my go-to for inspiration, but since this is not currently possible, I have been exploring some great online virtual museums as well as online walk through gallery exhibitions.

What advice would you like to give photographers who are struggling today? Any tips?

I guess I might suggest using this time for self-reflection. Experiment photographing things at hand and take a camera on walks. Sometimes a break is beneficial for future projects.


Beth Moon

General Sherman © Beth Moon



Beth Moon

Gigante Baobab de Joal Fadiout © Beth Moon



Beth Moon

Quiver Trees at Dusk © Beth Moon



Beth Moon

Bristlecone Pine Dusk © Beth Moon



Beth Moon

Brooke Shaden
Brooke Shaden's Website
@brookeshaden
All about Brooke Shaden

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on your professional life?

Part of my business is motivational speaking, and I've had nearly all of the conferences I was supposed to speak at cancelled. In addition, I'm still spending a lot of money on prints for exhibitions, but several of the shows might turn to online-only, which leaves me with a hefty sum in prints but no one to see them in person! Finally, it has been an adjustment having my two-year-old foster son home with me full time, and I haven't quite mastered the work-life balance yet. That said, I've been more inspired than ever during this time of radical creativity and innovation. I've been creating new ideas for projects and launching projects that I've sat on for a while.

What do you do to get by/stay creatively active?

I challenge myself to what I call White Wall Wednesday. Every week I share an image that I created by myself in my office with just a blank wall to work with. I find constraints very inspiring. Putting ourselves in boxes and taking away obvious inspiration is a fantastic way to flex your creative muscle. And it is a muscle. When we are too often exposed to things that make art easy, our art becomes boring.

What advice would you like to give photographers who are struggling today? Any tips?

First, be where you are now and let that be okay. You are not obligated to change your process or take up a call to action. However, if you do feel moved to create, remember with every choice you make that your actions will impact others and call them to action. I believe one of the most destructive mindsets we can adopt is perfectionism. Act, and you will see progress. Act, and you will find your voice. Act, and you will inspire others to act.


Brooke Shaden

Catharsis © Brooke Shaden



Brooke Shaden

Crystalline © Brooke Shaden



Brooke Shaden

House of Solitude © Brooke Shaden



Brooke Shaden

Push and Pull © Brooke Shaden



Brooke Shaden

Quiet the Night © Brooke Shaden


Formento & Formento
Formento & Formento's Website
@formento2
All about Formento & Formento

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on your professional life?

First of all we hope you and your readers and safe and we hope this message is useful, inspiring and informative or it simply cheers you up while self-isolating, social distancing, working from home or working to keep essential services going. Richeille and I can not complain, we are so grateful everyday for what we have been blessed with. As a couple working and living together full time. The major impact for us is the postponement/cancellation of the art fairs, this year we were suppose to have a solo show at Photo London with ARTITLEDcontemporary, a booth at Paris Photo NY and other venues. Our income is generated from exhibition sales and so that will suffer for the first half of this year. But we are hopeful that once this passes the art world will come back stronger than ever!

What do you do to get by/stay creatively active?

Our Winter/Springs normally find us in Japan working on our ongoing series Japan Diaries we are now up to chapter 3! We, of course, cancelled this trip and started working on building a miniature set here at our Connecticut studio. Exploring visually the #metoo moment as well a creating work that deals with this pandemic.

What advice would you like to give photographers who are struggling today? Any tips?

Work, work, work! Let's be honest 85% of what we create is crap! but in order to get to the 15% that is good you must keep working, for in working comes growth, discoveries, happiness, simply keeping that creative juice flowing and more important is being in tune with yourself and what you want to say as an artist. As for tips, more than ever we all have time to write down ideas for future projects. Ask yourself, who are you? what makes you tick? what is important to you in your daily life and shoot that. Photograph that feeling and emotion. Keep the mystery. Don't show me what a kiss looks like, show the world what a kiss feels like.
Stay alive,
BJ and Richeille Formento


Formeto Formento

Nurse Hero © Formento & Formento


IN LIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC
Life has inertia.
It rolls on even when we tell it to stop. We make pictures and tell stories, and that keeps us busy and gives us a sense of purpose in the world. But now, that world has gone away. It stopped. It just seems so brutal and constantly present. We've been struggling in this new world, we have been told we might not die but we will know someone who has, We wake up everyday finding it necessary to create for creativity is a survival strategy; it's in every bone in our bodies, and always has been. What are our other options? to be overwhelmed by the sadness of doing nothing? Darwin said that survival depended on those ''most adaptive to change.''

Richeille and I normally spend winter traveling Japan and other Asian countries we had our 1st quarter of 2020 all planned out, but after hearing the news from China back in December we decided to cancel our plans and started to build a miniature city here at home. A very intimate artistic practice that is more internal. Creating a stage out of nothing rather than searching out locations abroad.
This series explores the #metoo movement worldwide.
This hunger city represents the evils of society.
Our women seem like the sleeping giants that have been finally woke.

We hope you find this note useful, inspiring and informative, or that it simply cheers you up while self-isolating, social-distancing, working from home or working to keep essential services going,
Art will go on. It always has. All we know is that everything is different; we don't know how, only that it is. The unimaginable is now reality. Viruses come and go but Art will Last forever!


Formeto Formento

Martina Attack © Formento & Formento



Formeto Formento

Martina Attack © Formento & Formento



Formeto Formento

Martina Attack © Formento & Formento



Formeto Formento

Martina Attack © Formento & Formento


Michael Joseph
Michael Joseph's Website
@michaeljosephphoto
All about Michael Joseph
Lost and Found

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on your professional life?

My day job has experienced an extreme slow down and comes in waves, so I have more time to work on my projects. Given that my projects are passion/personal, the Pandemic hasn't affected these projects too much.

What do you do to get by/stay creatively active?

Every photographer works differently in terms of shooting frequency. Given the way that my projects work, I tend to shoot in intensive/focused bursts during trips and then edit/develop slowly over time. I most recently traveled to New Orleans in late February for Mardi Gras to work on the Lost and Found project. This was just before the Coronavirus started to emerge and sadly there were people dressed in Mardi Gras costumes as the Coronavirus (corona bottles plus a lime)! I also spent the summers of 2018 and 2019 shooting Big Shot Polaroids for a new street portrait project entitled Wild West of the East. Although distinct objects are created, I spend a lot of time editing and scanning. Given the stockpile of digital images from trips and Polaroids to scan from the summer, I have been able to work on all of this, keeping my creative mind and eye active. I am a big fan of letting work sit for a period of time as well. Given that I shoot street portraits and street photography, I feel it is necessary to allow time to separate me emotionally from the shooting experience and the subjects. This allows me to see the images from a different perspective. Often, with all the shooting, we don't take a step back to see how an entire project is moving forward. The 'Lost and found' project is in year 9 and so this project is fully formed, but not completed. This free time is allowing me to work on a book dummy (any publishers out there?) and take time to look at the entire body of work, perhaps to make it even more cohesive and update the story that continues to unfold over the past 9 years or so. This period has given me more time to see how I would like a final product to be presented. With regards to my newer project Wild West of the East, I have been able to do more intensive reading and research into the people and history of Provincetown, MA, where the project is set.

What advice would you like to give photographers who are struggling today? Any tips?

With a block of free time now, I would use the time to your advantage. Perhaps plan for the future, clean up the present and reflect on the past. Every now and then I will look back in my archives of negatives to see if there are any great photos that I missed or one specific photograph that might spark a new project. Maybe there was a photograph that wasn't very meaningful at the time, but in light of the current global climate may take on a whole new meaning. With time to edit, I might take a project that I put away and look at it with a set of fresh eyes. I also find that prior to the Pandemic, I tend to be always active and busy. This forced slowdown allows us to really think and dig deep for ideas and a vision for future projects. A lot of my most creative times are right before bed, waiting for an airplane to take off, or being stuck somewhere where I have nothing to do but think. While we often grab the phone and sift through Instagram ad nauseam, I try not to focus on what other people are doing, but draw inspiration from photobooks I haven't had the chance to look at or journal how I feel about what is happening both locally and globally.


Michael Joseph

Joe Grimy © Michael Joseph



Michael Joseph

Rango © Michael Joseph



Michael Joseph

Raskull © Michael Joseph



Michael Joseph

Sasha © Michael Joseph



Michael Joseph

Test Tube & Trinity © Michael Joseph


Silvia Grav
Silvia Grav's Website
@silviagrav
All about Silvia Grav
JustWatch at 836M

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on your professional life?

I had three finished exhibitions canceled so that was a hard hit, but have been lucky enough to not lost anyone to the virus, yet. And as strange as it is, I have never had so much work in my career. I finished shooting three projects right before the closedown that I have to edit now, and I got into a big project that I can do remotely and that would take a few months and a lot of collaboration so I am deeply grateful. I have a really hard time being isolated and without being busy - and without the economical side that comes along with it - it would be a really unbearable situation.

What do you do to get by/stay creatively active?

By learning. It is my favorite thing in the world and something I never find the time to do in a conscious way, so I am trying to come back to that as much as possible. Also slowing down, and being alone, and letting feelings sink in and stay with them, until they explode into images or music or paintings or whatever medium I happen to be working on.

What advice would you like to give photographers who are struggling today? Any tips?

It is hard to find the words when I don't even have them for myself, but: have your eyes more than ever: there is a lot of help out there but it is not going to come to you. Ask for it. Seek organizations, look for grants. Anything that makes sense to you, anything that gives you the minimum amount of hope you can attach yourself to. Even the ones in 'good' situations feel dejected so, know that, interiorize it, and remember that sometimes the harder times are the ones in which your survival mood will kick in and guide you best.

Also: use the time to send emails to people you admire, you want to learn from, offer your hands. Everything you do comes back to you in one way or another.


Silvia Grav

Look at the Pictures © Silvia Grav



Silvia Grav

© Silvia Grav



Silvia Grav

© Silvia Grav



Silvia Grav

© Silvia Grav



Silvia Grav

Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson
Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson's Website
@kremerjohnsonphotography
All about Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson
Interview Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson

What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic on your professional life?

The pandemic has been a nightmare for freelance artists. We had 9 advertising jobs on the horizon. It was going to be our best year so far. Ad agencies pulled the plug early. Then studios closed and productions on all levels stopped. For us, the cycle of shooting an ad campion is long. Sometimes 6-8 months long. That means everything we've been working on is gone and will not return. When we return to a safe working society, it will take months for agencies to develop new concepts, get approval and start looking for photographers. Production planning takes a couple months and then a month to shoot and retouch. A full year is lost.
That's the truth but beating that drum won't get us anywhere. Instead of looking at the year of lost wages and the missed opportunities that we have already realized, I think it most productive to look for the opportunities.

What do you do to get by/stay creatively active?

To stay creative, we make the work we can. We're looking at past catastrophes such as the 2008 market crash and 9/11 (a USA catastrophe) as indicators of what will come next in 2020. We believe ad agencies will be clamoring for new work. They will pivot to human interest stories and productions that are less expensive than we're used to. Therefore, we're out shooting stories about humans that are participating in social distancing and wearing masks. We're looking for first responders and medical professionals that are working harder than they ever have. We're looking for business owners that have found ways to augment their business practices in order to be safe and still make a profit. We're looking for good human stories because that's what humanity should be focusing on right now. Those are the stories that brands will be trying to convey.
We're doing this from a distance. We do not come in contact with our subjects and we wear personal protective gear.
Additionally, we are learning new retouching techniques and testing new ideas in our studio. We're also working on marketing ideas for the inevitable return to normalcy.
As well as eating way too much junk food.

What advice would you like to give photographers who are struggling today? Any tips?

This is a time to make a decision. Understand that this not the only time you will have a down year. It will happen again. If you can't weather the storm, I don't blame you. There are far far far easier ways to make a living but now is a good time to reflect and decide if this is right for you. If you choose to keep going through the tough times, I suggest you find a way to be positive and make work. Make work and then make more work. It's a good time to explore genres that you've never considered. The last time I had downtime, I forced myself to shoot still life. I not only enjoyed it but it turned into a Communication Arts winning series. It opened my eyes to new possibilities that I cary with me on every new shoot. It's also a good time to step back and look at your brand. Look at the market place and see where you fit in. If it's not where you want to be, maybe you should create a plan that gets you there. Don't know how to get started? Search for help. Everyone is sitting around with very little to do. Reach out and ask the people that have had success. You'll be surprised at how open most people are to sharing their knowledge.


Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson

© Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson



Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson

© Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson



Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson

© Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson



Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson

© Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson



Neil Kremer & Cory Johnson

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources To Help Photographers

Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.
Advertisement
Narratives
AAP Solo Exhibition
PHmuseum 2020 Women Photographers Grant
Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition
Win an Online Juried Solo Exhibition in November

Selected Books

Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition
Win an Online Juried Solo Exhibition in November