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AmericaStoryCovid 19; Pandemic by Annick Donkers

At the beginning of the quarantine in Mexico I felt terrified. I just had my birthday and we joked that it was the last party before the end of the world.

At the beginning of the quarantine in Mexico I felt terrified. I just had my birthday and we joked that it was the last party before the end of the world.

I had been following up the news about covid-19 the whole time since a Belgian friend wanted to visit me and we wanted to have a clear eye on the situation. We saw how my homecountry Belgium just went in no time to alarming figures of contaminations and deaths. My friends wrote me about all their hallucinating experiences, their fears and my parents were locked inside their home with food being dropped outside. Everything seemed to be very surreal. 

In Mexico at that time, there was still hope that the situation could be controlled, and that it wouldn´t take a drastic turn if people just would stay inside and take precautions. There was a lot of information, masses of misinformation combined with conspiracy theories doubting about the real origins of the virus. It wasn´t doing any good for my state of mind. 

So, after the first panic, I decided to be creative again and do the things I always wanted to do. I started to take long walks to the city center on Sunday mornings to document the empty streets because I just felt so restless and wanted to photograph. I started to contact friends who were living close by to ask if I could document their life in quarantine. I felt the need to have some social contact again and discover a bit of the outside world. 

But then June came and we saw how the rest of the world was waking up from its sleep while we were still locked inside with anxiety and not knowing what the future would bring. In the news they mentioned that Mexico was now considered the new covid epicenter. Something we had expected maybe for a long time since the government didn´t act properly in the beginning and lots of people in “illegal economy” found themselves in an impossible situation to stay at home. At night I can hear parties nearby, the drums of the music and the voices of people gathering. They don´t seem to grasp the severity of the situation and some people still think this was all an invention of the government. 

Rare view of an empty Mexico City zocalo.

Irène, a French teacher, only goes out for shopping during the quarantine.

Facemask drying in the sun.

About Annick Donkers

Annick Donkers is a documentary photographer from Antwerp, Belgium who currently lives and works in Mexico City. After obtaining a Master´s degree in Psychology, she decided to specialize in photography. She studied photography at different schools in Mexico and participated in an artistic residence program called Residencia Corazón in La Plata, Argentina. She has received a grant from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008 and was selected to participate in the 2008 Seminar on Contemporary Photography at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City. [Official Website]

Rey and Carlos practice on the rooftop. Their tango tour through Europe was cancelled due to covid.

Chinatown is considered as one of the high-risk zones in Mexico City.

Carlos and Andrew, a Mexican-American couple at their apartment in the city center.

Ricardo´s trip to Los Angeles has been cancelled due to covid.

Adolph at his hair salon in Mexico City, missing his clients.

El Caballito monument at Paseo de la Reforma. The Street is usually packed with bicycles and runners on a Sunday morning.

Elisa, an Argentinian dancer, rehearsing at her studio in Mexico City.

Jennifer organizes online DJ sessions from her living room in Mexico City.

The Latino Tower in the city center says “Stay at home”.

Maria Antonieta, a Mexican muralist, plays with baby Anton at her house.

Florence from Belgium, shaved off her hair, inspired by the haircut of her neighbor’s boyfriend.

Apocalyptic view outside my bedroom window during the quarantine.

Emilio, a Mexican actor, doing a video shoot at his apartment.

Mexico is still in high alert at the beginning of June.

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Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
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