We live in a weird time period.
NEVER in our life has this happened, the whole world is in a form of lockdown due to a virus called Corona (SARS2) which causes several symptoms ranging from nothing at all to death, but also switches between being invisible in a carrier to giving strokes, attacking the lungs etc. The virus has a very high “life outside” with up to 72 hours on some materials, an incubation time of anywhere between 5-12 days and most of all there is NO cure OR treatment.
And this last one you do have to realize for the full 100% before you read on.
There is NO form of treatment, meaning if you get it its a form of Russian roulette, will it be the severe kind or the mild kind. What are my other illnesses (even if I don’t know I have one) and most of all what is my physical health, can I win this battle.
I think a lot of people don’t realize this last part.
If you get covid-19 is literally a fight YOU have to win, there is no doctor or nurse or machine that can fight it with you, there is NONE. The reason you get a ventilator bed is because you’re body is losing the battle and you have to be kept alive to see if with the help of the ventilator you can pull through, the moment this happens you can probably know for sure life is not going back as it was, most people will be disabled or limited for the rest of their lives. Add to this that it’s not sure yet if you can even become immuun. There are people that attracted it twice (or more). Every day we learn more, also that it does stay in the air.
Frank are you trying to scare us?
That’s not you, why?
I know I’m always very positive, and I’m also now, but that being said I also wanted to start this way due to what I see happening all around us and that REALLY scares me more than that whole corona virus. This morning the police had to take people out of a train in the Netherlands because people didn’t want to get out but also didn’t take the 1.5 mtr distance. This weekend alone several “f6ck covid” parties has been ended by law enforcement etc. This scares me way way more than Corona.
In essence a virus is not a living thing, it’s a piece of junk RNA with one simple task, mulitply.
That’s it, nothing more nothing less. It can’t crawl to you or attack you, if we don’t give it hosts for 3 week it’s gone, death, eradicated from the history books. So does this mean in essence if we lock down the whole world for 4 weeks it’s gone?….. good chance it is, but it’s not realistic, because there is always an animal or human that can still carry it, or didn’t follow the rules. So we have to flatten the curve, meaning (and I think a lot of people don’t get this) this doesn’t mean it is less dangerous, it just means that we don’t go to the hospital all at once, one might say that before there is a cure we are just waiting in line for our turn, and I think that sentence says it all.
We are ALL standing in line to be infected, and because we flatten the curve we HOPE there is a bed for us if we need it.
Now as soon as there is a vaccine or a cure that’s when the risk goes down a lot. But do realize that even with a vaccine there still is a certain amount of chance you get it. But let’s not think about that, people also die from the flu, it sounds harsh but that’s life, we can’t cover 100%. But at least it’s covering most people and by that time we probably know Covid and Corona a lot more to be able to know how to be safe.
Ok so why this blogpost….
We are slowly opening up again, so that’s cool right….. I wish I could say this.
But it’s not, and I don’t even think it’s wise.
Now I’m not a virus expert, I just follow the news and try to read a lot and I’m stunned by how some people behave and I’m afraid that’s where it goes wrong. So that’s why I write this down in the hope a lot of people read it and maybe change their minds in their personal approach.
What does opening up means in a pandemic.
Again this is my view, I’m not an expert.
A lockdown is terrible, we have to stay home and we can’t work.
In all honesty if that is the worst part for you… think about the Jews in WWII who had to stay inside a very small room for up to 5 years with no or little food, had to be mouse quiet all day and night and were living in CONSTANT fear that if the Germans would find them they would be brutally killed. We are locked up for 2 months with Netflix, social media, enough food to last you 2 life times (unless you eat mayonaise and toilet paper) and video conferencing. So yeah…. don’t tell me a lock down is driving you nuts. I understand being in an appartement sucks and if your marriage isn’t that good or you have kids around, guys I know it is very very hard, and trust me I also want to end this but I just think it’s too early. But in all honesty in a world that is pushed to the limits with work pressure, maybe a lock down can also be a good thing, I know for sure a lot of people that were burned out are now eager to get back to work.
So why are we opening up?
Look very closely to the people in charge.
It’s a choice between economy and health.
You don’t even have to read between the lines, they literally say it “it will costs extra lives, but we also have to think about the economy”
Now, is this right ?
Yep, it is.
I compared Corona to having a gun, you have to shoot in your left leg or your right leg, there is no third option, you have to do one. Now there is one catch, if you chose the wrong leg you also get a head shot, this is the period we are in right now as a leader. As a person it’s much easier, you can choose to pickup the gun or leave it be and if we pick it up there is even a HUGE chance we don’t have to shoot at all, but we might hit others by waving it around (it’s still loaded, maybe now only with 2 bullets, but it’s still loaded)
Now comes the part… do we HAVE to pickup that gun?
I think everyone with a right mind set knows we don’t wave around a loaded gun, right?
So what do we have to do.
First we have to determine IF we really need to get back to work.
The fact that hairdressers, physiotherapists, dentists, pedicures etc. are allowed back to work doesn’t mean it’s safe, it just means that they can help people that were in pain the last few weeks because they couldn’t be treated. Although hairdressers…. I still don’t get that one, all the hairs in that locations and seeing the rush on the hairdresser you can expect one room with several people working and 30-40-50 clients a day… sorry…. not for me, I wear a cap for the next 4-5 weeks.
So why do we open up?
We have no choice, IF the economy goes down, it means we all will lose much more lives than one realizes, this is also something to think about maybe in a few years if this is all history. We are living in a world where without the normal flow of things people lose their jobs, in most countries this means you are …. well let me put it mildly you’re screwed. And even in our beautiful Netherlands where there is a great social catch-net and free healthcare I worry if a lot of people are taxing that pot of money, but for the Netherlands I think we will be ok.
So the reason we open up is because we have to, NOT because it’s safe.
When I now read Facebook it does seem that way, “yes, finally we can go shoot again, I’m opening up” to “I never stopped, it’s just a flu”.
The reason I wrote this pretty doom and gloom blogpost has a reason.
As a photographer I love my work, my work involves for 90% working with people, models, students, clients etc.
I really really really miss this and can’t wait to get back to work.
But we also have other forms of income, I have my books, tutorials and of course Clickpropbackdrops and Tethertools so although we have a MAJOR hit in our income I still don’t open up yet, and I hope you read why and think about it.
Opening up now isn’t any different that not closing down a few months ago.
The virus is still here, there is still no cure, it’s proven to also be effective in very warm climates, so hoping the summer will scare it away…. not realistically. Maybe slow it down but not make it go away.
IF you HAVE to open up to feed your family, please do if you really need to.
But PLEASE follow the rules.
Realize that we still don’t fully understand this virus, make sure you clean every surface (also the floor) right after every customer, and keep at least 2-3 mtrs distance. Shoot tethered so people can see the images large on a screen, make a path in your studio where people walk and don’t walk that path yourself, only for cleaning.
This is a relieve for a lot of people that NEED to work to FEED their families, I get it. And it’s ok, it’s great.
BUT….. PLEASE make sure that they can keep doing that.
It’s NO time for TFP shoots, it’s no time to go out and enjoy the park on the other side of the country with your car or public transportation.
The ONLY reason we open up is because we NEED to to rescue our economy, NOT because it’s now safer than a few weeks ago. The most important number is the number of free beds and the R factor. This has to stay below 1 (meaning 1 person infects another), at the moment for us it’s 0.8 which is ridiculously close to 1. By opening schools (because kids are not being able to stay at home longer) a lot of people are already afraid it will hit 1 again.
So let’s be smart, be really smart.
We have to stay below 1.
But we also want to work and enjoy the weather.
Well wake up and smell the bacon….. this is not going to happen, if we do it like that, we are in full lock-down within a few weeks. However if we are smart, there is a middle ground. We do have to realize that opening up WILL increase the number of deaths, this is no fairy-tale, it will happen and it’s a sacrifice we have to make if we want to keep living like we are used to (I won’t give my personal opinion on this, but you probably already read it between the lines). The fact is that we don’t know how many people will die sooner or later by NOT opening up the economy, nobody knows this.
So my call to you my friends is the following.
Look into the mirror and ask yourself very slowly… “do I really NEED to go out to start up again”
If the answer is “Yes, without a shadow of a doubt” do it and feed your family, it’s 100% ok.
If the answer is “Yes, I would love to, can’t wait to see my clients again”…. don’t do it.
If the answer is “Yes, I have been inside too long, can’t wait to do a TFP again”…. read on.
If we are only letting the people work that really need to to save their families or help clients that suffer from injuries or other pains we can probably get away with it, IF we (the people that don’t really need to) stay home, don’t go out for a drive or public transport, don’t go shopping, give yourself a lock-down for 2 extra weeks.
In 2 weeks we will see what the R factor does. If we only let the people open up that really need to because otherwise they would lose their business or can’t treat people there is a chance we stay under that R1 factor meaning we are “safe”.
I thought this was common knowledge.
But when I read facebook this morning it almost seems like the virus is gone, photographers are calling for models, moodboards are shared etc. Trust me, when we do this too fast we are stuck in our homes until there is a vaccine and that… can take up to 18 months. (some say 6-24 months).
So what do we do?
I want to start right away, it’s allowed now…..
But still we have discussed this internally (it’s easy it’s just me and Annewiek) and we decided within seconds we are starting again in June. This will be our first workshop, but with a lot of question marks.
First of all, groups will be smaller.
Max 5-6 students, just me and a model, no assistants and Annewiek will stay away.
We will create boxes in the studio measuring 1.5 mtrs in which we place a chair in the middle, that’s your spot.
Food we will bring and leave it outside your box (man this sounds so bad).
When I work with the model I stay behind the line and at least 3 mtrs away from the students.
There will be predefined sets with very clear markings on the floor.
After every workshop the whole studio will be cleaned and will NOT be used for 48 hours.
This means we start with one workshop a week and probably go to a schedule of 2 a week but only when it goes well with that R number.
In our studio we want to guarantee an as safe as possible environment, and in all honesty we are even thinking about changing the workshops for a while to one inside a week and one outside per week, limiting the risk even more.
To put this in perspective.
We live in a rural area with hardly any infections and we have our own building. If this was NOT the case I would NOT open up in June but probably in July.
When I look around me luckily a lot of people take this seriously.
But I also see people walking around with JewStars with the the text “no vaccination” although I’m not Jewish (but have some Jewish friends) this shocks me to the core and …. never mind this is public post 🙂
Also the need for facemasks.
This is where you can see how we as a species operate.
We don’t wear facemasks for ourselves, we wear them to protect others, so please guys wear those masks. In the Netherlands they were very opposed to them because it was not proven they worked, and now they are mandatory in public transport and when you can’t keep your distance. You know….. just be smart and think about others and just wear them as much as possible, we have to do this together and it’s no time to think about ME but about US.
Let’s end this blogpost with some final thoughts.
A virus needs a host and it needs help getting to that host.
Let’s not help that virus.
An economy is needed to feed the people of the world, also the third world (or did everyone forget about this) so please realize for your own health, that of your loved ones and that of others that the only reason we now open up is to make sure people can feed their families and help people that need it, it doesn’t mean we can just go out and shoot our models again or travel for holidays.
In my book 2020 is a 100% lost year.
What we can do to earn money we do, what we can do to entertain you guys that are in a more severe lockdown than us, we do. But that’s about it for 2020, no tradeshows, workshops probably a few under strict safety precautions, new tutorials without a doubt (now I have time for them) but most of all fear…. not for myself but for my loved ones who are not in perfect or good health.
As an egocentric species this is the time for the next step in evolution.
Grow from an egocentric species into a new kind of species, a species that thinks about the other.
I wish you all a lot of safety and hope this blog post comes over the way I intended it to be, not an attack to you if you start work again, but a call out to ALL photographers and other professions that if you don’t NEED to, PLEASE stay home and by this make it possible that those who need it can work and provide and by the time you need it there is also room for you to start.
We really have to do this together.