The Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Eyes of Famous Photographers at ‘Cortona on Move 2020’

Alberto Poinelli, 54 years old, nurse and deputy supervisor of the Areu AAT 118, the emergency service in Brescia displayed at Cortona on the Move © Andrea Frazzetta

Open Saturdays and Sundays through September 27 (10 am – 7 pm, admission €6), the 2020 edition of Cortona on the Move is showcasing “The COVID-19 Visual Project: A Time of Distance,” photos which focus on the pandemic, from economic repercussions to its consequences on society, culture and individuals.  Displays are set up in the historic center of Cortona at Palazzo Capannelli outdoors and along the alleys of the Tuscan town, and at the Fortezza del Girifalco. Exhibited are the winning works of the Canon Young Photographers Award and entries taken from the archives of the European Space Agency.  There will also be conferences, portfolio reviews, guided tours and talks on September 24, 25, 26 — see the website for details.

There are social networks with iconic images taken from Instagram as well as media with relevant reports published in international newspapers. The exhibition will continue to be updated with facts and emotions until a vaccine is found and has an open call for visual artists.

“The ambition is to crystallize the memory of these months” says Festival director Antonio Carloni “this is a response to the crisis of cultural associations, museums. Photos, audio and video of 20 famous photographers will be hosted on this platform at least until the vaccine arrives,” he said.

The platform has seven chapters that cover the effects of COVID-19. These include the health emergency to the urban void, from lockdown to economy, from the wounds inflicted on society to the revenge of nature and the new norm. This project is especially important as an ongoing reflection for Italy—being the first Western country to be affected by the pandemic—on its social and economic impact.

One of the photos shown in the section of the Urban Void includes Silence by Edoardo Delille. This photograph displays Florence deserted and motionless during lockdown, and the lack of sound is vividly expressed.  Another exhibit that is included in the economic impact section is a photo called Contingency Plans by Mattia Balsamini. This photo reflects on the economic activities that were halted in Italy during the COVID-19 emergency. Balsamini depicts the Italian people who were chosen during sudden industrial reconversions to emergency production, volunteer workers who accepted the risk of creating sanitizing gels, protective visors, oxygen cylinders and respirators in closed factories.

Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti photographed iconic museums across the world that were closed during the lockdown. From north to south, spanning Michelangelo’s David in Florence and the Egyptian collection at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, the images reflect the artwork left in the dark in a new light.  (lauren polanski)