I have been in the Podcast business for a while now, with a monthly (or so) show called PeerSpectrum discussing healthcare related issues. The lockdown hasn’t changed things much for us – he is in Raleigh, I in Dallas and our guests all over the world.
We have steered clear of specific discussion of the current contagion for several reasons. First, all the guests with actual knowledge are busy saving the world. Second, we are neither virologists nor public health experts. Finally, we think people could use a brief period of distraction.
Which is not to say that the virus does not come up in all our conversations. A recent guest, the dean of a major medical school spoke about medical innovation in telemedicine during the crisis. For the record, he thinks these innovations are popular, effective and here to stay. Another guest, a respected thought leader on health insurance and public health used the virus to illustrate some of the limitations of our current system and to point the way to a more rational design.
A most compelling Coronavirus cameo came in our latest interview, available (on iTunes or Peerspectrum.com) any day now, with Dr. Andrew Peacock, an ER doctor renowned for his magnificent nature and travel photography. When not under a stay-at-home order, he spends roughly half the year in casualty wards in Brisbane, Australia, and the other half on expeditions as a photographic guide or expedition doctor. It was a fascinating hour of escapism and even if you don’t listen to the episode, it is worth visiting his website (www.footloosefotography.com) to enjoy his heart-lifting images.
My partner asked Andrew for some tips on photography since he would like to get some pictures to show his two young children in future. Andrew’s answer was interesting, focusing on what to capture in a photograph. He recommended that the images “tell the story of how it feels” to be experiencing this time. Maybe they will show the juxtaposition of the beauty outside with the relative entrapment of being housebound. Maybe they’ll the emptiness of the streets around us, a visual echo of the remarkable quietude that is cocooning all of us. Maybe they’ll capture the closeness of the family unit or its opposite – a family nested together or one split to as far reaches of the house as they can be. The pictures should abstract the full drama and emotion of the scene while preserving the unique nature of this experience.
We hope to never live through this again. But may we keep some remembrance of what the time was like, both bad and good, to chronicle its history.
[This Post was adapted from a essay originally published on Facebook the day listed above]