Science and technology have played a major role in the fight against COVID-19 and Christopher Payne’s exquisite photos from a Corning plant in upstate New York showcase both. They show machines, including robots, running around the clock to turn out vials for the vaccine. In the video, we discuss the craft and the politics of three of the photos featured in The New Yorker. People may distrust medical science, but the scale of the pandemic, the lifesaving power of the vaccine, and the beauty of the images lend the technology a sense of awe. Unfortunately, what the pictures also do is contrast how the political and organizational effort to distribute the vaccine has fallen far short of the scientific achievement. In other words, the machines have been awesome, the humans, less so.
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Take a closer look at some of the images from our larger photo edit.