A New York – Paris Visual Diary: The Human Face of Covid-19

By Peter Turnley | December 2, 2020

(Ed. Note: A New York-Paris Visual Diary: The Human Face of Covid-19 is a stunning compilation of photographs that capture the story of the pandemic through the lens of a celebrated documentary photographer. You can purchase a limited signed special edition of the book at www.peterturnley.com for the special price of $60. Orders placed before Midnight December 4, 2020 will be delivered before Christmas.)

As a documentary photographer I have covered most of the world’s major news stories, including most of the world’s wars over the past four decades. On the first day of the lockdown in New York, I did what was most natural to me: I went out into the city with my camera—and a mask, gloves, and a distinct awareness of the mortal risk involved, always trying to be as careful as possible. I was stunned and shaken by what I saw. I realized immediately that this was the first time I was going to witness a world war with an invisible enemy at “home,” and it became clear to me that this was going to impact every single person, and that every person had a story.

I immediately began a daily New York lockdown diary and each day published an album of photographs and diary entry on social media. I soon realized from the response of viewers worldwide that this crisis was the first in many of our lifetimes, where every person in the world is interconnected by the impact and realities of it, and that we all greatly identified with the shared stories of the people I encountered daily. The stories all were from New York for the first two months, until I landed back in Paris in May. The stories from across the ocean in another of the world’s most vibrant cities augmented and underscored the universality of the profound human consequences provoked by this moment—which still has no clear outcome.

Here is a sample of photographs from A New York-Paris Visual Diary: The Human Face of Covid-19


A public bus driver, corner of 81st and Columbus Avenue. April 4. © Photograph by Peter Turnley


Healthcare workers come out to hear local resident of the Upper East Side express their gratitude. May 12. © Photograph by Peter Turnley


Daniel and Emily on their wedding day, near Central Park. April 25. © Photograph by Peter Turnley


Yanan, 30, from Wuhan, China, jogs across the Brooklyn Bridge. March 26. NY © Photograph by Peter Turnley


Paramedic Anthony “Tony” Thomas’s funeral, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. April 30. © Photograph by Peter Turnley


To order a signed copy A New York-Paris Visual Diary: The Human Face of Covid-19 please visit my site, www.peterturnley.com.

Copyright © 2020 Peter Turnley
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  1. Stacey J. Miller on December 2, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    These photos are amazing. Thank you, Peter Turnley, for your vision. Stay well.

  2. Ellen Bennett on December 2, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    The bus driver reflection photograph took my breath away. Thank you for your contribution, looking forward to further studies on this site.

  3. Charles Levin on December 2, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Wow! Haunting and stunning – thanks so much for sharing your brilliant work.

  4. C. J. Lori on December 5, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Amazing, gripping photographs. Up close and personal, a total WOW.

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