The corona virus lockdown has changed the World and also created an amazing photography experience
At the time of writing this blog I am in day 11 of social distancing rules in Austria. Most of the World is operating under new social distancing rules. These rules have left the streets quieter in order to stop the spread of the Covid 19 virus and also created an amazing photography experience.
Under normal circumstances I photograph hotels for a living. My work started drying up a couple of weeks ago as the uncertainty started to kick-in. I can’t work from home as I photograph hotels on location and I usually travel extensively. So with that stark reality hitting home, like millions of other people I can’t worry about the future 24 hours per day. So between the worry of where and when my next job and income may come from I thought about what was going on outside.
Something incredible is happening to our cities as a result of the corona virus. Places normally saturated by tourism are now empty, which creates an amazing photography experience.
I checked with the Austrian Guild of photographers guidelines and Landscape photography is still possible to do under the current guidelines. I just have to make sure I don’t come into contact with people and stay a safe distance. We can also currently still go out for walks to exercise.
So I decided to combine the two elements and set about documenting the incredible circumstances in the old city. I walk from my apartment into the center, which is about a mile away and during the time I am out I don’t touch any handles sit on any benches or come into contact with anything or anybody.
The city walks
So far in 11 days I’ve only been on two walks into the center. Even though I am not coming into contact with anybody or anything, I think it is wise not venture out much.
One was late afternoon last Thursday and the second was Friday morning between 09:30 and noon. Under normal circumstances the City would be bustling at those times, particularly because the weather was unseasonably warm. They were beautiful spring days. Days when the cafe’s would have been bursting at the seems with people enjoying the first warm weather. They would be in sidewalk cafes eating ice cream and drinking coffee or beer or strolling through the narrow medieval streets window shopping.
But with shops and restaurants and cafes closed there is an eerie silence. The few people that are around are on their way to get groceries or walking their dogs or exercising. If one person walks down these narrow streets now, you hear the click of their heels echo all around. You can hear a dog bark streets away. Every now and then a police car will slowly roll through to monitor things and you can hear it coming from a long way off.
The sounds are as eerie as the sights
Walking through a medieval city in the middle of the day when it’s deserted also stimulates the senses in many ways. I began to be aware of the sounds of the city. The normal noise pollution was gone, no cars in the distance, no shouting, no crowds walking and talking. Then the bells started ringing. Nothing strange about that, but the fact that the only other noise I could hear were the birds. In the middle of a city, just birds and bells, no people.
The square in the photo above is usually the site of the Grünmarkt with the University Church on the right hand side. The decorative mustard colored building with narrow windows towards the end of the square on the left is the building where Mozart was born. Because of the daily market and the massive tourist attraction of Mozarts birthplace, this square is usually always busy.
Looking to the future
This situation is fast changing and in some cases more restrictions are being put in place to further limit the movement of people. If people like Prince Charles can get the virus, it shows that anybody can. While I am able to do my work responsibly, I will do. As tempting as it is, I don’t recommend that people go out to get snap shots with their phones. If you enjoy seeing these amazing photography once in a lifetime scenes I invite you to follow my instagram and photography Facebook page.
Here is another link of empty cities around the world
Getting back to normal seems like a long way off.
I am sure when we get there, this will seem like a distant memory. But maybe we will all be better people and appreciate our freedoms and the World we live in. I for one am looking forward to getting back to work and photographing more hotels. If you work in the hotel industry and will need new images to market your property, please take a look at my web site at: www.winterparkphotography.com
Amazing pictures in uncertain times.