3 Creatives Capturing the Outbreak.

This is what they want you to know.

The economic effects of the national lockdown continue to ripple through the creative industry. Three Magazine has rounded up local projects that have emerged to provide temporary solutions and support to creatives as well as spread awareness and help COVID-19 efforts (sometimes all at the same time!). Look out for our Lockdown Lists shining a light on such projects in the art, photography, fashion, video, music and events worlds.

While most of us stay shut inside for the safety of ourselves, those we love and the country at large, photojournalist Armand Hough and cinematographer Chad Nathan venture outside to cover the COVID-19 outbreak. From her home, photographer Lili Bo Ming offers a lighter perspective into the emerging social media culture of the virus, in the name of awareness.

For the photo and video segment of Three Magazine‘s Lockdown List series, I reached out to these 3 creatives to find out the messages behind their work and their outlook on the outbreak. Follow them to inject fresh insight to your feed.

Chad Nathan

Cinematographer / @gingerwithagopro

Your first video of an empty CBD went viral locally. What was your objective in documenting the lockdown? Has your intention evolved since the reaction to the video? 

To capture this time in our lives… Many of us likely won’t see a similar situation again.

A lot of my footage ended up being focused on those who didn’t have a home to stay inside of, so ultimately my intention has pivoted to giving those people a voice.

What about what you’ve seen thus far while documenting the virus has surprised you most?

One thing that has surprised me most is that even in the midst of a pandemic, people are still able to come together and support one another.

“Life is easy for some of us and we take it for granted.”

I have seen countless acts of kindness from the people of Cape Town whether it be bringing food to the homeless, or helping the elderly with getting groceries. These moments of positivity are helping everyone get through this together.

Are there any moments that have touched you specifically?

Just seeing people in the townships and in the homeless shelters. It’s very sad to see how these people are living but I am happy that we have brought awareness to this …

Life is easy for some of us and we take it for granted. We complain when our alcohol has run dry or we have watched everything on Netflix, in the meantime there are others out there who just want a blanket and a meal. 

Lili Bo Ming

Visual storyteller / @flyinglotuseater

#coronafashion is a popular trending hashtag on Instagram. What do you think of protective gear being used as aesthetic or accessories?

I think it can be seen as disregardful and foolhardy – and rightfully so, there is a clear lack of medical supplies, gloves, masks and hand sanitiser. My intention is not to be unmindful, I reuse and wash all the gloves and masks that I’ve used in my photographs.

“The trend [is] a metaphor for the safety precautions”

I think if the artist’s intention is genuine, mindful and educated it can have positive effects. I find that I am inspired and encouraged by other artists and photographers who push boundaries and find new, strange and interesting ways to visually portray concepts and feelings.

Your project attempts to make light of the situation. Why did you feel this was necessary?

I think it’s very easy to get caught up in the news and the horrific things that are happening around the world at the moment. I don’t discredit the importance of educating ourselves on what exactly is going on… I just choose to balance that out by reminding people to keep their spirits up.

Be inspired, create art, make the most of what the time we have, do what you can to help others from a far, stay motivated, find the beauty in the mundane. Small but important aspects of everyday life that are going to prove to be a lifeline during this time. 

Your captions ‘GET WITH THE TREND’ are like an attempt to encourage people to be responsible and listen to precautions.  Share a bit more on your intention behind it.

GET WITH THE TREND is such a iconic phrase used through many walks of life and I just thought now is a better time than any to really be aware of the ‘trend’ – the trend being a metaphor for the safety precautions and measures each of us need to act upon during this unprecedented time.

Armand Hough

Photojournalist + storyteller / @thehumansnarrative

What is the importance to you of covering the oubtreak and the lockdown?

During a news story of such critical importance as a global pandemic, I have a responsibility to bear witness to the unfolding events and document the situation for the public’s knowledge and for future generations to learn from what happened and how we dealt with it. 

There’s been a surge of willingness to get involved with our communities via charity. You posted a photo of two young men helping an elderly woman carry her grocery bags. What was the reaction? 

Yeah I really liked the photo of the two skateboard brothers. Malik and Ahmad. Being able to get the picture published in the newspaper was kind of like a thank you to them and I am so grateful towards the public that found them.

“I am worried [the] pandemic will create more segregation in our country.”

They didn’t seek recognition for a good deed. They just knew it was the right thing to do. This is the perfect time for us all to help others were we can. I got a beautiful message from their dad saying how proud he was of them. 

What situation most worries you from what you have seen?

I am worried that the long term effects of this pandemic will create more segregation than we already had in our country. The people who can afford to isolate themselves can very easily detach their emotional connections to others. I do not want to live in a land where communities do not share their space, culture and their feelings with another. 

A Message:

From Lili on using art to cope.

Art is my most magical and vital tool to my mental health, it allows me to therapeutically communicate and express the inner workings of my mind and heart … As a creative I think it is so important to keep on creating and expressing what is going on in the world around you.

I hope through my art I am able to inspire and encourage friends and family to do the same – it really is such a rewarding experience in understanding oneself and others as well as creating a sense of community. 

From Armand on perspective.

If you are able to hunker down and isolate yourself for the duration of the lockdown, you are in a very fortunate position. There are an estimated 5000 rough sleepers in Cape Town with various reasons for being there. Some suffer from severe mental health issues, physical conditions and addiction. During this time, they need our help more than ever.

Some see them as a burden on our society but I would like to challenge those to start seeing our street people as a very valued reminder that it could also happen to us. During the coming months, thousands more will lose their jobs and some of us could find ourselves if situations where we have to rely on the help of others. Even if you don’t have anything to give, please treat them with dignity. 

From Chad on causes.

There are so many ways to help.

  • Ladles of Love is another organisation that is making over 2000 – 3000 meals a day for people in all the shelters and the townships, and they are always looking for more donations so they can make more food. 
  • Cans With A Purpose is feeding 1000’s of households in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
  • Corona Care supports many different organisations across SA by delivering food parcels, relief parcels, and supporting them with cash and other resources.