It seems like every time I sit down to write about a photographer’s work related to covid-19, the same thoughts propelled by similar known statistics keep tumbling out of my head. Fear, anxiety, dread, uncertainty. There’s a reason for that, though. The cause and treatment of the virus is still uncertain. And cases are still materializing; deaths continue to pile up. Everywhere. And then there is this push to open everything back up, which some experts say is being done too soon and will spark another wave of spiking cases.
What do we know about where the virus came from? We think it was from China but are not 100 percent sure if it came from a wet market or a lab. The evidence seems to point to it coming from a wet market. And then there’s the idea that if enough people contract the virus and survive it, we’ll start to develop an immunity to it. But then there is also evidence that this isn’t the case — some people have actually now contracted it twice.
At the tail end of April, The Post reported that the World Health Organization said there is not enough evidence to say that a person who has recovered from covid-19 is immune to a second infection. Some experts have cautioned that if everything is opened up again, we could see a second wave, maybe worse, in the upcoming flu season.
Speaking before the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently, immunologist Rick Bright, a government whistleblower who alleges he was kicked out of his job after warning the Trump administration to prepare for the pandemic, said that America faces the “darkest winter in modern history.”
Not long ago, The Post reported, “As many parts of the world, including the United States, explore ways to ease restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus, countries that had already opened up are closing down again after renewed spikes in infections.” Those countries have included, so far, Lebanon, South Korea and China.
So, we’re months into dealing with this virus and yet are still grappling with uncertainty and all that entails. And this is, partly, what motivated Raul Ariano to make the photos in the series presented here today on In Sight.
Ariano, an Italian photographer who has been based in Asia since 2011, told In Sight that he was traveling to Chengdu when the virus broke out in Wuhan and then started spreading across China and the world. As China locked down cities and millions of people went into self-quarantine, Ariano made his way back to Shanghai, where he has been living for the past five years, and began photographing life as it unfolded around him during this extraordinary time.
Of this selection of photographs, Ariano told In Sight:
“I had been photographing every day what happened around me in Shanghai, the city I have been calling home for the last five years, focusing on what I felt most during the phases of the spread: fear, uncertainty and distance.
I let the city talk for me, express my emotions and hopefully people’s emotions during the lockdown and its aftermath.”