Pandemic photos foster community and connection in spite of isolation

CNN  — 

With much of the world under lockdown and social distancing practices in full effect, our streets have become unfamiliar and often eerie. But photographers – amateurs and professionals alike – and creatives from all over the globe are documenting the pandemic.

In support of promoting communication and community through visuals, The International Center of Photography in New York launched a virtual program, #ICPConcerned: A Forum for All to Document the COVID-19 Pandemic.

#ICPConcerned is an initiative encouraging people to share photos – and other mediums – of their work with ICP via the center’s Instagram handle. Email is also an acceptable format for submission, though the program currently exists just on Instagram.

Carmen Daneshmandi, a professional photographer living in Spain, started taking photos without a clear mission. Daneshmandi, whose images are featured in the gallery, told CNN, “The images came about quite unexpectedly in a natural way. I hadn’t intended to go out and document this experience and for most of the time I had been living in Zaragoza I actually had to be in New York for work. Now that I was forced to be inside, in my apartment, on my block, I started to naturally connect to my balcony community of neighbors I had never met before.”

Daneshmandi said, “One-time portraits turned into daily photos and the solitude made indoor inspiration come to life.”

Daneshmandi is not alone in finding inspiration during this strange time. ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell said the response to the call for pandemic photos “was immediate and very active.”

“Photographers, imagemakers and storytellers from around the world are using the hashtag and sharing their work and unique perspective during the pandemic,” Lubell told CNN.

This isn’t the first time ICP has used the hashtag #ICPConcerned, however. The hashtag launched in 2016 after the US election, and Lubell said they plan to use it in the future “for any other transformative moment in our culture.”

Since the March 20 launch, ICP has seen more than 3,600 posts using the hashtag #ICPConcerned.

“Show us how you are responding,” the website reads. “We will be flexible, and as the situation develops, we will expect the unexpected.”

Single images, photos sequences, image-text work, video and audio files may all be submitted and tagged with #ICPConcerned.