The idea, at first, was to bring photojournalism to the streets, bypassing the usual gatekeepers to reach an audience in the most direct way: by pasting photos on the walls of Paris, London, New York and many other cities around the world. In the six years since the collective Dysturb began, it has used photography to inform people who may not usually pick up a newspaper or watch the news. It has started education programs in schools across Europe and the United States. It has partnered with nongovernmental organizations to raise awareness of global issues such as climate change and women’s rights.
So when the novel coronavirus started spreading worldwide, the photographers behind Dysturb took to the streets once more. Last week, they began a campaign in Paris and New York to encourage people to respect social distancing and stay-at-home orders, using the work of photographers who have been covering the coronavirus crisis (Laurence Geai, Nina Berman, Fabio Bucciarelli and Ismail Ferdous, among many others), as well as art by Jeremyville, a New York-based designer.
Each photograph comes with a set of facts about the benefits of confinement in the fight against the virus as well as reminders of best social distancing practices. In the coming days, the campaign will expand to cities such as San Francisco and Seattle in the United States and Nairobi in Kenya after receiving a grant from the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University, in partnership with photography organizations CatchLight and The Everyday Project.