We Can’t Stop

by | Jun 10, 2021

The photos of Andrea Hernández Briceno were chosen for the exhibit “Documenting the Impact of Covid-19 through Photography: Collective Isolation in Latin America,” curated in collaboration with ReVista and the Art, Culture, and Film program at Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS.)

The exhibition, based on an Open Call for Photography launched in July 2020, aims to create a critical visual record of our unprecedented times so they can be remembered by future generations.

Latin America has become a hotspot for Covid-19 as the number of cases rises and persists. It’s a region that brings together ideal conditions for a pandemic: lack of investment in health care systems and a dependence on informal economies. The cheapest method of prevention is social distancing, but how can people stay home if they need to go out to survive?

In Venezuela, these conditions are especially grave. What I’ve heard while making images with a telephoto and a flash in the middle of the commercial area in Latin America’s biggest slum, Petare, is: “We can’t stop”. I’ve been photographing people going to buy or sell food. Commerce is a  high-risk activity during a pandemic;  it requires contact and closeness.  For most people there,  social distancing sounds like a trend in New York and they are more afraid of hunger than the virus.

Andrea Hernandez Briceno (1990) is a photographer, National Geographic Explorer and International Women’s Media Foundation fellow based in Caracas,Venezuela. Her work has been published in Time MagazineThe Washington Post, El País and other international outlets. This project was possible thanks to the support of the Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists by the National Geographic Society.

 

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