Photos from around the world show how people have coped with isolation

A life in lockdown: 50 captivating photos from around the world reveal how people have coped with isolation during the pandemic

  • A photo competition from the app Agora reveals a series of stunning photographs from across the globe
  • Photographers were asked to capture images that reflected staying at home amid the coronavirus lockdown 
  • Close to 15,700 photographs were submitted and the top 50 have been released before a winner is crowned
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

These captivating photos snapped by photographers across the globe amid the coronavirus pandemic showcase how different nations have experienced a life under lockdown.  

Close to 15,700 images were submitted across all corners of the world – including as far as Kenya, Ghana and Colombia – as part of a competition themed around the idea of staying at home after 95 countries imposed lockdown measures to stem the spread of the killer bug. 

The best 50 images, including a pair of Spanish singers playing guitar on a rooftop, a lights display from downtown hotels in the US and a seamstress sewing face masks in Ghana have been released. 

Octavi Royo, CEO and co-founder of the app Agora, which is running the competiton, said the photos gave ‘a point of view on the confinement and to share a message of hope to humanity through their photograph’.

‘While we are all enduring similar circumstances, these photos demonstrate that each home is different and each point of view is unique. Together we are stronger.’ 

Voting for the best photograph is now open and the winner will be announced on May 27. 

‘Wash clothes’ by @spartanphotography254 in Kenya. ‘During this quarantine period, the family bond should grow, the emotions should flow within to strengthen the relationships at home.’

‘Sisters’ by @krisbianto.andy in Indonesia. ‘Quarantine isn’t so bad when you get to spend it with your sisters! It’s a great moment to strengthen family bonds and try new routines together.’

‘We are fumigating, stay home’ by @terryjerryawase in Nigeria. ‘I photographed the health workers fumigating the city to prevent further COVID-19 contamination among the community. We have to deal with an uncharted territorial problem here, and the only solution is to work all together to fight the virus.’

‘Yoga at Home’ by @evablanco in Spain. She said: ‘I’ve been practicing yoga daily since the quarantine has started. On that day, I set up a tripod and my dog decided that it was time for him to stretch by my side, and of course, kiss me all over my face. He is so adorable. I don’t have kids, my dog is like my child. I wanted to transmit that together, we are stronger and better. The best thing in life is to enjoy little moments like this.’

‘Singing on the roof’ by @lepetitmutant in Spain. ‘Every day, we climb to our roof to sing songs of hope and happiness to our neighbors, but also to pay tribute to all the doctors, nurses, and volunteers fighting this global pandemic. We love to share the good vibes from our home! It makes the confinement more bearable. Stay home, stay safe.’

‘Stay home and shoot’ by @alexdeangeles in Italy. ‘Let your creativity guide you to make this quarantine more bearable and, find unique and creative ideas to keep you busy at home while social distancing.’

‘Spacemen’ by @katerinazefirova in Russia. ‘Stay home and stay creative! This quarantine has been a great opportunity to have fun with the kids at home.’

‘Reto de un foto al día’ by @claror in Spain. ‘I challenged myself to take a picture every day during the lockdown, and I realized my neighbors are an important part of my life now. I’m doing this quarantine alone and I celebrated my birthday with them, so I wanted to make them part of my challenge.’

‘Little chef’ by @kateomely in Russia is pictured left. The photographer said: ‘What better way to kill time during self-quarantine than cooking with your family?’ Pictured right is ‘Quédate en tu casa’ by @moniru in Uruguay, which gives the message of ‘stay home, stay creative’

‘Sewing masks’ by @omchandra in Indonesia. ‘Tailors around the country are answering the need for more masks to fight the COVID-19 global pandemic.’

‘Reading the newspapers’ by @leakaehler in Germany is pictured left. ‘I wanted to portray inefficient movements. In my society, everything is designed to be efficient. And it’s what is expected from us, the people, and how we are brought up. Right now efficiency is on low heat because of the coronavirus, and that’s what I wanted to exaggerate. Doing things inefficiently, because especially when it comes to art, culture, and mere being, efficiency is not the key. Sometimes society and we as people need to take detours in order to achieve something. And sometimes it’s okay not to achieve anything but just exist in the world.’ On the right is ‘Se puede viajar desde casa’ by @cristianbustosriera in Spain, who said ‘My goal was to convey the possibility of traveling with your mind through literature, despite being confined at home.’

The ‘Spanish way of celebrating medical staff’, by @nicoprg in France is pictured left. The photographer said: ‘These people are my amazing neighbors, who transformed this Covid-19 quarantine into some incredible moments of happiness and sharing. They have been playing instruments every day at 8 pm, sharing their passion for music with everyone who lives nearby. These simple pleasures give people a break from the bad news. It gives them hope. Now that I know all of them, I’ve already been invited to their wine cave to have a drink altogether once the lockdown lifts off. On the right is ‘San Diego’ by @jpramzyfotos in the USA, showing ‘A nice gesture from downtown hotels to show healthcare workers support during this crisis.’

‘Making the most of this time at home to relax’, by @adeleandjuan in the UK. ‘I wanted to portray lockdown as an opportunity to rest and escape busy day-to-day life, as a chance to reflect and give nature a break from exhausting human activity. The warmth of the golden hour light entering through the window represents the safety and protection that this obligatory time at home provides. In this shot, my partner is captured enjoying and making the most of this time at home to relax, enjoy the beauty of nature, and practice a neglected hobby of his. The Lake District National Park is one of the UK’s most touristic areas, however due to the crisis it is now emptier than ever. As the European country now with the most coronavirus related deaths, the range of experiences currently being had in is vast and we count ourselves incredibly lucky to have had the possibility to spend lockdown in the comfort of our home. We send our internal thanks to all those of the front line carrying out vital work and saving lives.’

‘Quarantine haircut’ by @kytawillets in the USA. ‘My son was long past due for a haircut and he was so very excited to have it cut by his dad. He begged me to photograph the experience as it felt to him to be rare and he wanted to capture it forever.’

‘Positive message’ by @josephrrouse, USA.  ‘While forced by the Coronavirus pandemic to temporarily close, a concert venue in Colorado sends a positive message to the neighborhood.’

‘Outdoor sports photographer in quarantine’ by @dmartphoto in Spain. ‘Boredom and the desire to go out have made us all develop our most creative side. As a climber and photographer, I was able to enjoy a pleasant afternoon thinking about and developing a climbing route in my own kitchen. Fortunately, it was not necessary to carry heavy backpacks to light and photograph the scene.’

‘My son and my wife’ by @alesigis in Italy is on the left. The photographer said: ‘In the last 2 months, these two humans have been the only people I have been spending time with in the real world, and not just on WhatsApp, Zoom or any other virtual option. They are my family, they love me unconditionally as I love them unconditionally. We will go through this together, I’m sure.’ On the right is ‘Never enough of my favorite toys’ by @a.rosenthal in Germany.  ‘Toilet paper is an everyday item and is a very popular toy for my two cats. When the corona pandemic broke out, a lot of people rushed to buy toilet paper. Soon enough you couldn’t get any more in the shops. I found the whole thing so absurd that it inspired me to take this photo. So far I can not understand why people think of toilet paper first in such a difficult time. This behavior is just anti-social. The photo may seem very funny to some, but it is meant ironically to stimulate thought. The photoshoot was of course very funny for my cat. He didn’t want to stop playing.’

”Héroe’ by @ajuriaguerra in Spain is pictured right. The photographer said: ‘Here’s my son. In this quarantine situation, the real superheroes are our children. The flexibility and capacity for adaptation they have demonstrated over the past couple of months have been really impressive’. The photograph called ‘My father’ by @wunderbilder in Germany is pictured right – ‘My father is 79 years old. He’s usually a very active person. Being at higher risk left him no choice, just like other people from his generation: staying home is the way forward right now.’

‘Múltiple’ by @inlogin in Colombia (above left) shows how ‘The national police forces had prepared a show for the quarantined population on the occasion of the Children’s Day celebrations the last 25th of April. Families came out to their balconies to celebrate this great moment altogether.’ Pictured right is ‘Making face masks at home’ by @nodar in Georgia, to help ‘friends to stay safe in this crisis’.

‘Los más vulnerables de esta enfermedad a la vez son los más pobres de la población’ by @rizada.fer in Chile.  ‘Despite the fact that the Chilean government ordered its population to stay home, many elderly people take the risk to go to work in order to survive in a system that has abandoned them. I want to transmit helplessness, loneliness, fragility in this photo.’

‘Let’s build a house and watch movies’, by @joalze23 in Honduras. ‘My three kids were eager to do something different on that day, as we’d been a month into the quarantine already. We started to play with the furniture in the living room, and my kids had the idea to build a small house from where they would watch movies the whole afternoon. I picked up my camera and started shooting while my kids took turns playing in the house they had built. My daughter felt safe, relaxed, and protected to be at home with her family. Many people are going through a very bad time because of the Covid-19 virus, I just hope and wish that every child, in Honduras and in the world, could feel safe, relax, and protected just like my daughter felt and looked at that moment.’

‘Laundry’ by @damiane in Georgia (pictured left) shows that ‘Although it seems that the world has stopped, life goes on. The most simple things, such as hanging your clothes to dry, have been transformed into the least boring moments of the day.’ On the right is ‘Isolation’ by @leowillgo in Venezuela. ‘I wanted to portrait the feeling of isolation in these times of quarantine. I took this photo of my girlfriend as soon as I woke up… I hadn’t even brushed my teeth before the photo!’

”Kids Inside Home During the Worldwide Quarantine’ by @hwilson8 in the USA. ‘These children have not left their home since the lockdown 2 weeks prior to this photo. Inspired by the uncertainties and totally life change, the kids were still finding joy in everyday life. Even taking a picture through a window you can see how resilient children really are, and how they adapt to major change and disruption to their schedules. I wanted to image to convey that even though things are hard, there is still good all around. These children are safe, they are loved, and they are being well cared for by social distancing and staying home. Still finding joy, still smiling even though their lives and the world has been flipped upside down. Just simply a raw, real moment in what will be going down in history for the year 2020.’

‘Descanso frente a la ventana’ by @paulaaranoa in Argentina. ‘I have 4 children, they’ve been my favorite models during the lockdown. I wanted to transmit the peace and tranquility in this time for introspection that life has given us, a time to rediscover oneself.’

‘Juegos’ by @photollarena in Spain. ‘Here’s my son Victor. Just like many other kids, he’s been enduring the lockdown at home without being able to go outside. Children experience the whole situation in a different way than adults: they can play and have fun with almost anything. In this case, my son’s main entertainment was to watch the clothes in the washing machine.’

‘COVID-19 daily life’ by @heiland in Norway.

‘Shelter in place-isolation’ by @whittington in the USA. ‘This is a photo of my son. He was standing by the baby gate to the stairs. I thought it was a good representation of the shelter in place, because it looks like he’s in jail. I wanted the feeling of cabin fever or being stuck to encompass the photo.’

‘A girl studying at home during COVID-19’ by @crsbqb523 in the USA. ‘My children are at home due to the COVID-19 crisis, like everyone else’s. On that morning, she was studying by the dining room window and I was working from the table. When I looked up, I saw her reflection in the mirror. I thought it was a beautiful, candid moment, and I had my camera next to me so I took the picture. I felt black and white really captured the loneliness of the situation while being safe at home. My daughter turned 8 the day before, by looking at her I could see how independent she is and how she is growing into a strong young woman. I know this current crisis will have a lasting impact on her, and I hope she will look back on this photo with pride.’

‘8pm’ by @mariafcabaleiro in Spain (left) captures how ‘Every night at 8 pm, the world gives medical heroes the standing ovation they deserve.’ On the right is ‘The Best Place is Home’ by @thedallasexperience in Ghana. ‘My friend is a top security staff who volunteered his free time to enforce law and order during the pandemic. He’s widely respected among our community. I’m glad I caught this expression in his eyes which communicated exactly what I wanted. He was prepared to send a message out there.’

‘Enjoy the safari at home’, by @superiaria in Italy. ‘The photo is obviously a joke, although it took me a whole Sunday afternoon to get it right. It just wanted to represent what I really miss the most in this quarantine period: the travels. I love to travel, especially to explore nature and to meet local people. To admire. To learn. To take photos.’

‘Stay home’ by @oscar_penelo, Spain, pictured left. The photographer said: ‘Here’s what confinement looks like in my house: a lot of books to keep your mind busy, and some coffee to warm your soul. On the right is ‘El deseo de volverte a ver’ by @wmr.valdez in Spain. ‘In this self-portrait, I wanted to demonstrate my feeling of hope about seeing my daughter again when all this will be over. I’m holding one of her drawings in my hand, thinking about her.’

‘Trucos de magia’ by @xavi_carrion in Spain. ‘My kids are crazy about the Harry Potter universe and love to dress up as their favorite characters. At one point, I saw that my daughter, aka Hermione Granger, was staring at her wand. I asked her what he was thinking about, and she replied: ‘I wish I could do magic and eliminate the virus’.

‘The dining table has become the new home office’ by @erinmichelleriddle in the USA. ‘Life in quarantine has changed the way we work and learn. Here are my husband and son, working and doing schoolwork at home. I wanted to capture the messy, chaotic nature of the “new normal” created by the quarantine for COVID 19.’

‘Survive through the epidemic in poverty’ by @smazzi in Nigeria. ‘A lot of people in our society are living in abject poverty. This lockdown made the situation even worse. The repercussions of Covid-19 could yet be more deadly than the virus itself.’

‘Supreme bond’ by @asimijaz  in Pakistan. ‘I took this picture at home, after my morning prayer. I was thinking about what’s happening right now in the world; I live in a country where medical facilities aren’t strong enough. What if we get caught into this situation and can’t get out of it? It’s the right time to find hope in your prayers.’

‘Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy’ by @el_one in Indonesia. ‘I took this photo when my wife was teaching my daughter how to wash her hands. This photo tells how important it is to maintain cleanliness in order to preserve good health. Washing your hands is a very simple gesture, yet it can save lives.’

‘Stay home with books’ by @careless_wandering in Canada. ‘When you’re stuck at home during quarantine you might as well pick up a good book!’

‘Stay home’ by @rotundperfect in Romania (left) shows that ‘Even during the lockdown, you still have many small moments to cherish with your loved ones. It’s the little things in life that matter.’ On the right is Stay home and study together’ by @jjnmatt in Indonesia. ‘Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, my daughter has had to stay home and do home learning. It broke my heart to see her locked at home without being able to meet and play with her friends. She’s had a lot of homework to do, her teachers have been quite demanding. It was stressful for her too keep up with all the work she’s had to do.’

‘Stay home and play’ by @andreasbatsilas in Greece. ‘Here are so many things you can’t do during the pandemic lockdown. You can’t ski at any resort, you can’t cycle to your local park and you can’t play tennis with your friends. But you can set up a fun scene inside and learn how to use Photoshop better, in order to create an interesting composition. This can be equally fun! Take care, it will be over soon.’

‘Stay home and do your hobby’ by @mktography in the Ukraine. ‘I tried to transmit the idea that everyone should have a hobby because it can be a great way to handle stress. It’s like the first line in your defense against anxiety. It helps you run away from bad feelings.’

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