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Photo by Jakob Owens

Covid-19 and Architectural Photography

As a result of the current global pandemic, an unimaginable number of fields of work and study have been, potentially permanently, influenced and impacted in unprecedented ways. Although many have been able to adapt to lockdowns, government-mandated quarantines, and social distancing regulations by migrating to temporary work-from-home conditions, this luxury has not been readily available to, or effective for all.

Essential workers on the frontlines of the fight against the pandemic, journalists and media teams consistently gathering and reporting on novel revelations and discoveries, and many others have been unable to complete their work from the safety of their homes, as it has in many ways been the case for architectural photography.

Previously-featured architectural photographers were interviewed on their experiences in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, and how the pandemic has affected their workflow. For many, the answers revolved around very similar experiences. Predominantly concerns were expressed, relating to limitations in the ability to travel. The current phenomena that exists and that many described in their experiences is essentially a “Domino effect” sequence as a result of travel restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. There exists now a combination between limitations in long-distance travel, meaning photographers have been unable to embark on and complete shoots involving air travel or even traveling via car, and even short-distance/at-home restrictions with lockdowns and stay-at-home mandates. This has left photographers unable to leave their homes, let alone work. As was said by one of the interviewees, Simone Bossi, “Architectural photography as an individual craft is essentially a physical and a spatial fact.” Naturally, this has not only affected photographers, but the companies and organizations with and for whom they work as well. Many architectural projects have also been postponed or cancelled to ensure safety measures are met and gatherings of large groups of people are avoided. Photographers have thus been cut from budgets or their work has been postponed, oftentimes indefinitely.

That being said, life, time, and architectural projects still continue to move forward. A plethora of safety measures have been implemented worldwide, and photographers have now been able to start keeping themselves busy by working once again, all the while complying with social distancing protocols, ensuring pre-, mid-, and post-shoot sanitizing and disinfecting of workspaces, and generally limiting interactions between people. And for those still experiences heavy restrictions, the pandemic and work-from-home opportunity has offered time to catch up on e-mails and work with post-production on pre-Coronavirus shoots.

For many architectural photographs this unprecedented transition, and both the limitations, as well as the arrival of new opportunities that have been brought on by the pandemic, have affected their workflow in different ways and to different degrees. All in all, they share and agree on a common wish – for things to return to normal. When that will be possible, or what the “new normal” will look like, is still a mystery to us all, and one that we will all be experiencing as time continues to move forward, and we continue to adapt to a post-pandemic life.

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