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For me as a photographer during Covid-19, it comes down to this...

June 05, 2020

         Let’s face it, the Covid 19 pandemic has put the kabash on most photography activities. Camera clubs have cancelled meetings. Galleries have cancelled exhibits and classes. Workshops and seminars have been called off or postponed because speakers and attendees are unable or unwilling to travel. Facilities are closed and caterers unable to prepare food. And in some areas people are asked to shelter in place, traveling only for food, prescriptions and other things deemed as essential. And when going to these places, maintaining a safe distance and wearing a mask are required.

          I am a street photographer and am dealing with no people, or very few people, on the streets. Maintaining six feet of distance has been easy when no one is around. No crowds to get lost in to take a photo without being noticed. No people interacting with one another to make an image interesting. Almost everyone’s face is covered.

          Still, I enjoy photographing other things. Architecture, street scenes sans people, objects, and yes, sometimes even landscapes when I can get out of an urban or suburban location. So getting those photographs is still possible, even in this situation. Travel is still allowed. I could theoretically drive anywhere. I just have to maintain a safe distance from others and remember to wear a mask.

          But is that all there is to it? I wish.

          I have a 73-year-old body with a 73-year-old bladder. When on a photo trek, I can generally wait to empty it until lunch time or thereabouts. Pre-covid-19 I knew I could duck into a restaurant for lunch and the needed potty break. Even walking around the streets of New York City, I could slip into McDonald’s if I had to on the chance I couldn’t make it till lunch. But now the restaurants are closed. Restaurants can only deliver curbside. McDonald’s is only available for drive-through. Even walk-through isn’t going to help me. So, unless I’m going to a location that has a Sheetz or a Rutters or other gas station nearby that doesn’t care if you use the toilet without buying something, I’m not going there.

          So, for the last three months, I have gone to the same few places to photograph, mostly within a 10-mile radius. I have shot the same streets, the same architecture, the same bridges, the same riverscape, the same monuments ad nauseam. With all the hardship others are going through, with all the sickness, with all the unemployment, I’m finding returning to normal for me as a photographer is just needing a place to pee.