National Geographic chose the toughest photograph depicting the Coronavirus

Joshua Irwandi, a photojournalist for National Geographic, the author of the photograph that is going around the world, the young man observed for several days the work of medical personnel in his country, seeking to portray the harsh reality of Indonesia against the Coronavirus.

Irwandi’s photograph, which he published on his Instagram account, caused different emotions among users, thus making the image news in several international media. The photojournalist portrayed the corpse of a patient who was a victim of the Coronavirus; neither the hospital nor the name of the deceased has been identified. The image was chosen by National Geographic to be part of its August edition as the cover.

Photo: Joshua Irwandi

The impact generated through the image, which already has 344,550 likes on Instagram, has had strong repercussions in Indonesia, a country that has 270 million inhabitants, many comments are hostile, even a famous singer from the country has accused him of arming the news, assuring that the Coronavirus is not so dangerous.

The National Geographic photographer regretted that his work has been misinterpreted, and also reported that he has been receiving death threats because of the image, he also reported that his harassers have published private information without authorization on social networks.

Irwandi, 28, has received support from the Indonesian National Association of Photojournalists, who endorsed the young photographer, claiming that the image met journalistic standards, and demanded that the singer apologize. On the other hand, the photographer reflected on photography “The image is published here as a reminder and a warning of the always imminent danger. To inform us of the human cost of the Coronavirus and how the governments of the world have allowed things to go so far”.

Fred Ritchin, dean emeritus of the International Center of Photography, commented on photography “Here we have a mummified person. It makes you look at her, feel terror. At the same time, there is a distance. For me, the image is that of someone being thrown, discarded, wrapped in cellophane, sprayed with disinfectant, mummified, dehumanized”.

This Wednesday Indonesia has announced about 1,900 new cases of Coronavirus and 139 deaths. In total there are 4,459 fatalities, while the total number of infected would be 91,751.

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