Few of us could have imagined in March 2020 that so much of the world would still be under the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic twelve months on – yet, sadly, here we are.
For many of us, the last year has been something of a blur – a year where simultaneously nothing and everything was happening at the very same time. However, while it’s currently difficult to remember what normality was once like, there will come a time when the pandemic will be nothing more than a strange, distant memory itself. To those who didn’t experience it, it could be difficult to truly explain.
However, the old adage goes that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Perhaps the story of the last twelve months is best explained by the work of the talented photographers who have captured the fraught exhaustion haunting the faces of doctors and nurses, the eerie silence of the world’s deserted streets and the tears of grandparents being introduced to the family’s newest addition for the first time through a pane of glass, all among the many other images that we will forever associate with the year that life stood still.
As we mark the anniversary of COVID-19 lockdowns across the world, here are some of the most powerful photographs capturing the unprecedented events of the last twelve months.
Happy New Year, Photographer Unknown
A woman passes a monument erected to celebrate the Chinese new year in Wuhan, the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak. Wuhan’s lockdown – the first in the world – was announced three days before the celebrations were due to take place.
The first case was recorded in Wuhan on 17th November 2019. There has since been an estimated 125,614,782 cases of Coronavirus worldwide.
Lone Man, Moises Saman
A man sits alone on his balcony in Amman, Jordan, after the national lockdown orders are given.
Hollywood Blvd., Frank Bohbot
Even the world’s most iconic tourist spots were deserted for weeks as the unfolding situation left millions sheltering. Disney’s famous El Captain Theatre remained closed to the public until March 19th 2021, when the venue re-opened with strict safety measures in place.
Rainbow Portrait, Helen Pugh
A young girl decorates her window with a rainbow during the first national lockdown in the UK. Throughout the first months of the pandemic, the rainbow became a symbol of appreciation for UK’s National Health Service.
COVID Ward In Bangkok, Tanaseth Tulyathan
A COVID ward is disinfected by a healthcare worker in the city of Bangkok, Thailand, where cases remained low until January 2021.
Clapping For Essential Workers, Elinor Carucci
Elinor Carucci took this beautiful shot from her apartment in New York.
“With all the challenges coming to us from the outside,” she said, speaking of her feelings regarding the pandemic “We must love and care for one another.”
Glass Kisses, Steph James Cowfold
An elderly woman kisses the hand of her baby great-grandson through the window of her home whilst shielding from the disease.
Funeral Home, Peter Van Agtmael
Peter Van Agtmael looked to capture both the ‘horror and resilience’ of the pandemic in this powerful photograph of a funeral home in New York.
The New Frontline, Jamie Hawkesworth
This shot of supermarket assistant Anisa Omar was one of three images selected for the July 2020 front cover of British Vogue, which paid tribute to the UK’s essential workers. Midwife Rachel Millar and train driver Narguis Horsford were also chosen.
Prayers For The Community, Beth Hayward
A church reverend blesses photographs of his congregation, all under orders to remain at home.
Just Married, Photographer Unknown
A newlywed couple pose wearing masks in a deserted Piazza Del Campidoglio, Rome, after marrying in a stripped back ceremony.
Sir Captain Tom Moore, Photographer Unknown
Former British Army Officer Thomas Moore is knighted by Queen Elizabeth in recognition of his fundraising on behalf of the NHS – he raised 1.5 million to contribute to the care of COVID-19 patients by walking lengths of his garden in the run-up to his 100th birthday.
Sadly, Sir Captain Tom Moore passed away after contracting the disease in February 2021.
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