I started the @ny.strong Instagram feed at the end of March, out of a desire to show the resilience of New Yorkers during the Covid crisis.
I needed to show my European friends and family who were alarmed by news reports of the scale of death in NYC that this was not the whole story. I wanted to shine a light on a different side of what was happening in my city and reveal the individual stories of New Yorkers as they made their way through the crisis.
New Yorkers have an amazing capacity for resilience and empathy in times of crisis, as we witnessed during 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. The difference with the pandemic is that due to the stay at home order this spirit was not as visible. The streets were empty rather than filled with New Yorkers helping each other.
The IG feed featured citizens from all walks of life as they coped with the various difficulties related to the pandemic; from a pastor to a doctor, a warehouse worker to a teacher—each subject was documented both with photographs and audio interviews.
The feed also had an unexpected positive side effect in that it helped some in my community connect with others who were struggling with similar feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, fear and other issues.
Since May 30th, the date of the first march in Brooklyn, I have shifted the focus of @ny.strong onto the protests, but I wanted to keep the theme of exposing a narrative that often isn’t explored in mainstream media.
I saw that the protestors were being referred to as one collective, often with accusations of looting and rioting surrounding them. I wanted to show the beauty of thousands of people, most of whom are strangers to each other, choosing to march together peacefully, to make their voice heard and effect a positive change.
I hope to convey these feelings to the viewer with the slideshows of poignant individual moments accompanied with audio from the marches and rallies where the photographs were taken.
To see the full Instagram feed, go to https://www.instagram.com/ny.strong/