@covidphotodiaries – so heißt das spanische Fotografenkollektiv, das seit 50 Tagen das Leben mit der Pandemie dokumentiert. Einer von ihnen ist José Colón, den #FacesOfPhotography erzählt er sehr offen, wie es ihm geht und welchen Blick er auf die aktuelle Lage hat:
What do we see in your photo?
It is a Self-portrait with ICS (Catalan Institute of Health) Barcelona primary care nurses after taking the temperature of a Covid-19 sick patient staying at the Melià Hotel in Barcelona.
Patients with Covid-19 discharged from hospital have been transferred to different hotels in Barcelona, including the Hotel Melià, to spend two weeks in confinement, before being able to return home. Once they arrive, sanitary and hotel personnel welcome and take a temperature before assigning them a room.
Spain has hard initial restrictions – how does your work work in practice?
True, Spain has had very severe restrictions from the beginning. The Spanish Government met with the Extraordinary Council of Ministers chaired by the President, Pedro Sánchez, and agreed to declare a state of emergency throughout the national territory, initially for a period of fifteen days, to address the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus in Spain. 50 days have passed since yesterday, my feeling is the same, since the beginning of the coverage of the crisis, they are not giving us necessary and correct access to cover this historical situation. From the same government, public or private institutions, the slogan is the same. Limiting access to journalists and photojournalists is not a democratic system. In our daily practice, since the beginning of the crisis, we have had two fundamental priorities. The first would be security for the people we work with and two security for the people we live with. Access management, as he commented, is impossible. We have to move many contacts in order to be able to get access, whether to people or to institutions, today there are still some that were not achieved, as in my case access to hospitals! On the other hand , it is very difficult to achieve.
How do you manage to work and taking photos in this harsh reality?
The way to approach this reality is being very complicated, we are working at home, with people we know, who are, where and how they live, because it is our own society. In my case, I feel more calm, as my work is almost always done in Spain. I consider myself a local photographer. And if we talk about the emotional part, ufff. would be to go that I think go, to the psychologist! Is being very hard!
Is it already clear what the crisis means for photography industry?
It is clear that beyond the human tragedy, the coronavirus epidemic, or COVID-19, is having an impact on the economy, especially in the tourist habitat, but also in the photographic industry. A sector that, as part of the electronics industry, is dominated by Japanese companies and whose products are mostly manufactured on Asian soil. Examples such as the cancellation of the CP+ 2020, Japan’s leading fair for precautionary photography in the face of the epidemic. A similar measure tomoThe Photography Show or the American Nabshow, which have been cancelled or postponed. This is a global crisis. All this is just the industry, imagine the workers of this industry, there are few who are working, everything is stopped, in all fields and this is just a „snack“ of what is going to come because, right now, with the disease already widespread in much of the world (including Spain) we began to understand other consequences that directly affect the photography market. We are no longer talking about the unstoppable fall of the stock markets, but above all about the difficulties of working in the future.
Do you think that ways of seeing and visual languages will change against the crisis background?
I think, if everything will change we will see brutal creations. Crises sharpen ingenuity, creativity, art, culture, writing. I think in all disciplines we will see unique creations.
What is your personal photographic wish for the time after the crisis?
I hope that everyone, even if it is a little more, will become aware of others, that we will understand that if we do not have the collective union, either in the photograph or in the life that surrounds us. We won’t get anywhere. And let us be clear that, „this is just the beginning, our future,“ unfortunately, is what we have just lived, and we are living!