With more than 20,000 reported cases as of Saturday afternoon, Iran has become one of the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic.
The virus has affected Iranian leadership, and data show the spread is far worse than reported. As the crisis worsens, NPR talked with a group of independent documentary photographers about their experiences on the ground. Some took to the streets to cover daily life, some covered the response from private and public hospitals as staff deal with the pandemic, and some, as they socially distance themselves, take a more personal approach to storytelling.
Here are their stories.
Coronavirus widened its sinister shadow on the world's sky, and we don't know when this phenomenon will finish. I see my city (Guilan) as a center of the virus in Iran. People are not going out on the main streets anymore, and most of [the people] are now covering their faces with face masks.
I can feel the sadness behind the masks.
I decided to stay and work from home about four weeks ago.
As days passed by and the situation got worse, I thought I had to document this period of my life in a certain way. Photography has been always the best way to express myself, so I started taking pictures.
My idea was to show limitation, boredom and distance in my everyday life.
My 55mm fixed lens limits me and gives a great depth of field. I stay in and take pictures from outside the home through the windows and behind the curtains. I used the lens and called the series "From the other side with 55."
I witnessed the enormous amount of effort and dedication all hospital employees put into providing care for the patients. And I'm not just talking about the health care professionals, but also the custodians, receptionists, ambulance drivers and other employees who contribute in such difficult situations and put their lives at risk.
Where I did this series is a private hospital. This hospital just like other hospitals of the region is experiencing shortage of necessary equipment, such as protective covers, shields, masks or other necessities because of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Despite all that said, all hospital employees, no matter what their jobs, provide good care for the patients — which has been making up for a lot of these shortages.
The coronavirus already changed my relationship with my surroundings. There is a sense of fear and doubt about being in contact with things and people. I do clean my camera and my hands several times a day. Even this situation changed my relationship with my camera. I miss shaking hands with my friends.
I wish there would be a better understanding among people in charge of public relations at various institutions about the importance of professional visual journalism as in contrast with their own produced material. Professional and independent journalistic work on the issue helps people's need for information to be satiated through reliable, quality sources which they trust.