The toll on photographers and journalists during #covid19.
Professional photographers and journalists around the globe have been exposing themselves and going into the fray to capture images of a changing world. Despite the risks, we photojournalists are relentlessly compelled by a need to document what the world looks like during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic is historical, and these kinds of stories are why we become journalists; —‘these are the times for trained photographers and storytellers to illuminate viewers about what’s going on out there, even if we do it for free.’ This is what I tell my friends.
Over the last week in the US, while documenting the protests, more than 150 assaults on professional photographers and journalists have been recorded. Some were blinded, one permanently by police projectiles aimed at them and others were hospitalized with critical injuries.
In Iran, journalists are constantly harassed for disputing official covid19 statistics.
In many parts of the world with government-controlled regions, journalists have to choose between saying nothing or risk being accused of undermining the country’s prestige and therefore being incarcerated.
Media workers around the world are being exposed to both violence and the pandemic, and practising journalism is becoming more challenging every day. ‘Do what you love, and love what you do.
Leticia photographed Isaac, a 100-year old gentle Umkhulu from ILembe, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and shared his story with us.
“I was born on the 10th of February 1920!”, Isaac says as he pulls down his face mask to sneak out a smile. Isaac proudly showed me his ID and asked me to take his picture.
COVID-19 has significantly changed how we live our lives, and it has particularly hit hard to those already vulnerable. In the midst of all this uproar, and underneath all those face-masks, it’s a comfort to see smiles through people’ eyes.
Isaac has lived a very long quiet life. Issac had nine children but only three are alive today, and he also lost his only wife just over 30 years ago. When I asked him what about grandchildren, Isaac laughs and tells me he doesn’t know. ’Too many’ he jokes.
Issac first worked as a merchandiser for a liquor store for many years. After that, he worked for most of his life as a guard.
Isaac continues to be busy and hasn’t really retired, and he has now become a pastor for the Zion Church.
As a gift to Issac on his 100th birthday, the church was just about to build Issac a new home when the lockdown started. He has lived in the same house all his life and all his children were born there.
Isaac seems very content where he is. One of his sons, 50-year Sandile, lives with Issac and looks after him.
When I asked Isaac what his secret is to looking so well and being a centenarian, his reply was “No stress and no alcohol. I only drink tea”.
Nikon D850. ISO 100 | 1/250 sec | f4 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @60mm. Nikon SB500 Speedlight
Nikon D850. ISO 160 | 1/60 sec | f4 | Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @50mm.