Pictures of Paris under lockdown rekindle golden age of French street photography

Tony Maniaty - Our Hearts are Still Open
(Image credit: Tony Maniaty)

There’s no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has been, at best, disruptive for millions of people and, at worst, tragically disastrous for millions too. However, no matter how dark the clouds, there have been silver linings… for example, unexpected commercial opportunities, enforced changes of career that have proved to be fortuitous, and a return to more locally-focused activities with a range of benefits for these economies and communities. The picture for photographers too, has been about light and shade – some sectors grinding to a complete halt as a result of lockdowns, but new possibilities emerging from the many unusual situations that have become part of the Covid ‘experience’. 

For the documentary photographer, there have been many Covid-19 stories to tell as both individuals and whole societies have been forced to adapt to changes in lifestyle far greater than any have experienced before. And stay-at-home lockdowns transformed towns and cities around world, turning bustling locations such as shopping malls, railway stations and airports into eerily deserted scenes, reminiscent of dystopian movie sets. For the street photographer, these were opportunities not to be missed. 

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Tony Maniaty

Tony Maniaty is a photojournalist, author, and academic based in Sydney and Paris. His career has encompassed broadcasting, fiction writing, lecturing, and photography. He was Executive Producer of ABC’s 7.30 Report and Associate Professor of Creative Practice at the University of Technology Sydney. He holds a PhD in Media. 

His latest project, Our Hearts Are Still Open, features images of Paris taken during the Covid pandemic. A photobook of his Paris images – with an essay by Raimond Gaita, philosopher and author of Romulus, My Father – will be published by StudioTettix later this year.