Accepted Paper:

Coping with multiple and biased photographic narratives of Covid-19: from memes to the absent dead.  
Montse Morcate (Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

The analysis of the massive taking and sharing of images of Covid-19 pandemics through social and mass media addresses several questions on ethics and the role of photography to offer multiple narratives that cover the complexity of its nature, while reflecting on important absences and excess.

Paper long abstract:

Covid-19 pandemic has taken place in a context of massive making and sharing images online, favoring diverse and multiple narratives of everyday life (Gomez-Cruz, Lehmuskallio, 2016). In this sense, these images taken by common users during Covid-19 have been added to mass media photographic production contributing to offer a more complex narratives of pandemic. However, this multi-faceted representation seem to be frequently bias towards a more symbolic and even frivolous approach. Thus, a significant presence of memes on what is like living under pandemics, and pictures portraying leisure activities, especially during the lock down period, among others, have been shared massively offering a positive thinking narrative and attitude (Cabanas, Illouz, 2019), while images of the pandemics in all its harshness, showing the collapse of the health system, the chaos of the nursing homes or even the dead seem to be limited or even hidden.

In this sense, this paper analyses photographic practices during times of Covid-19 as well as addresses several issues, both ethical and anthropological, on the complexity of offering visual narratives that cover the very nature of Covid-19. That is not only showing the everyday of the so called “new normality” but also photographing suffering, grief and death (Morcate, Pardo 2019), while proposing some causes for little representation or even absence of certain images.

Panel P13
Our pandemic lives: photographing the pandemic
  Session 1