ATLANTA — As a photojournalist during the coronavirus pandemic, it can be challenging. Being around people and telling stories is what we do.
I am a Digital Producer with 11Alive. I tell stories everyday online and on air. So it’s been good.
But what happens when you’ve been inundated with COVID-19 news content for weeks, non-stop, all day, while working from home in a small house with just a 9-month old rescue puppy?
I need to get out and clear my mind, from time to time. Maybe it’s yard work, house chores or gardening. Yep, I’ve done them all.
Photography is my passion and it’s what makes me happy.
I was out on a walk with my dog, May (who also has her own Instagram), on the first day of spring. It was perfect outside. We walked by a playground – one that we’ve passed so many times. But it was empty. I snapped a picture and posted it to my Instagram.
My boss told me after the first week of working from home during a check-in that “we were making history” as journalists and that what we are doing at 11Alive is so important to the community.
I thought back to the picture I took a few days prior of the empty playground and said to myself, “I want to document this history. With my camera.”
So that’s what I’m doing. On Instagram. With a similar theme of empty streets.
I’ve been posting a picture every day or so. Sometimes every few days. I’ve been to the ever-so-famous Jackson Street Bridge to get the empty highway shot, I’ve been to landmarks that are usually filled with people, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the campus of Georgia Tech.
It’s strange. It’s quiet. There is no one around. You hear the birds chirping, but that’s about it. I look around and I picture in my head what it’s “supposed” to look like. But then I see in my viewfinder what the reality is.
“We will get through this.” That’s what I start every Instagram post with. “Soon,” I say. And I remind folks that “This too shall pass” and “Everything will be OK.” Because just a little bit of optimism can go a long way.
I’ve found that I’m not the only one. I’ve started following photographer’s all over the globe to see the outstanding work they are doing in their communities.
There is even an account that I’ve connected with, @NobodyOutHere2020, which is curating images from around the world. They said the idea came about while seeing the empty streets. One of its founders said "I thought about giving the world an opportunity to share something so unusual."
I’m a storyteller and it’s what I love doing. It’s what I’m going to continue doing. The feedback and the DM’s keep me going because once a photographer, always a photographer.
"Love this shot! Your encouragement for better days ahead is so needed," user @JavaGrammy told me the other day.
While we can all agree the sight of empty streets can be unnerving, but there's also a beautiful eeriness to them.
I'd love to hear from you! You can follow me @jason_braverman on Instagram or email me email@example.com. Check out all of the photos here.
We will get through this.
11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.
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'Empty Streets' Instagram photos of Atlanta during Coronavirus pandemic
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