In the midst of COVID-19, photographers around the world are having to navigate the unknown and find novel ways to work and document events as they play out.
For the fifth of our lockdown photography features, we speak to Italian photographer Raul Ariano who has been keeping a visual diary of life under lockdown and the tentative return to normality in Shanghai.
Raul was travelling to the Chinese city of Chengdu when the coronavirus first broke out in Wuhan in late 2019. In response, the government locked down cities and millions were in self-isolation during the Spring Festival – aka Chinese New Year – the country’s largest and most important festival.
Returning swiftly to Shanghai, Raul began to document what was happening around him as the city he’s called home for the last five years underwent a dramatic transformation.
As a city of 24 million, Shanghai’s streets are usually alive with people and traffic, yet his shots capture an eerie calm and shadows that speak of a collective unease. Unable to get physically close to people, he photographs them from afar, using the camera as a tool to overcome distance.
In this series of abstract, brooding pictures, Raul wants to convey his feelings during this turbulent moment in history. “I let the city talk for me, express my emotions and hopefully [other] people’s emotions during the lockdown and its aftermath,” he says.