Coronavirus: National Geographic photographers capture their worlds on pause

Stuck at home from New York to Nairobi, National Geographic photographers focus on family, empty streets, and walks in the wild.

By Maura Friedman
Published 26 Mar 2020, 11:53 GMT
”I love this view out of my window,” says British-Malaysian photographer Ian Teh. ”But it doesn’t sound as peaceful as it looks: The hum of traffic from a nearby highway permeates. [But during] our national lockdown, birds chirp outside or there is just silence. Both are a reminder of this grave situation. We only go out for food or medication. Jobs and projects have vanished or are on hold. I feel fortunate that I can share this time with my partner at home. I’ve tried to see this as an opportunity to do things I sometimes struggle to find time for, from connecting with faraway friends and family on video chat to cooking and meditation.”
Photograph by Ian Teh

“Andrà tutto bene.”


“Together, apart.”

These phrases, in Italian, Mandarin, and English, respectively, roughly translate as “solidarity in solitude.” It’s as if, around the world, the creep of COVID-19 has created a universal call and response. If we can’t gather in person, we’ll join together in spirit against the shared threat of coronavirus.

From San Francisco to Milan to Tokyo and beyond, we are staying home, flattening the curve, socially distancing. That means National Geographic photographers are, as well.

What does this pandemic look like from their now geographically limited perspectives? We asked several photographers to share their thoughts on the worlds they see inside—and just outside—their windows. These images are what they sent us.

Maura Friedman is an associate photo editor for National Geographic Travel. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
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