April 13, 2020

New York’s AIDS Memorial Through the Lens of COVID-19

New York’s AIDS Memorial Through the Lens of COVID-19

Todd Heisler uses shadow and light to depict New York’s unworldly state right now.

He, like many others, has been photographing the more familiar scenes, such as the hospital ship and the refrigeration trucks-turned-into-morgues. For memory and continuity’s sake, though, his image of the AIDS Memorial is significant. (I was living near the Village when HIV turned the gay world, and then the medical establishment upside down.)

Its reflection—aligned with the crosswalks, and encasing the one masked man—presents its own geometry of the health emergency. Literally, it weaves the 80’s crisis with today’s. With New York’s renowned design world suffering through the coronavirus as much as the other walks of life, Todd’s photo emphasizes its endurance by amplifying its power.

-Michael Shaw

Todd’s New York Times photo essay here.

Photo: Todd Heisler/New York Times Caption: The sirens seem endless. Even for New York. They cut through the silent streets, reminding us that the crisis we are facing is no longer an abstract idea. No longer contained to TV screens or even the hospital a few blocks away. Reminders of our new reality now appear all over, and in unexpected places.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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