The dense population in New York City has put it at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and in mid-March the city was ordered to lock down along with much of the world. Photographer and videographer Ben Lowy was given various assignments to document what has been happening in the city in the wake of COVID-19, and he’s gathered the footage to create his own edit of this significant time in history. We connected with the Sony Artisan of Imagery to learn more about this video he captured using a combination of the Sony Xperia and FX9, and why he chose to make it in black and white.
“When I originally got into photography 20 or so years ago, I wanted to be a conflict photographer to bring attention to things, and making people aware. This is a world-changing event, the biggest story of our generation and maybe the next as well. Just like 9/11 had a major impact on world events, this will too. It’s going to create a whole new element that will move the world, and I think there’s a responsibility to cover that using the abilities I know I have.”
Lowy says the reason why we press the shutter button at one particular moment from one particular angle is a product of all the experiences that we’ve had in our lives. There’s a reason why each of us sees the world in a different way, and for Lowy his approach grows from his own photojournalistic background. It has informed the way he sees and composes things, and perhaps what led him to create this video in black and white.
“I had black and white in mind when I was shooting this, I always imagined it that way,” explains Lowy. “Different people have different perspectives when it comes to choosing between black and white, and color. I think black and white is more stark, kind of like this point in time. It’s also not the way we see things, since we see in color. So black and white has a bit more of a poetic notion, which works when trying to present something to capture an eye in a way people aren’t used to seeing.”
“At this moment in time there’s a lot of tension and I think black and white as a spectrum can really bring that out. There’s a tension between the color of the real world we live in and viewing that world in an unfamiliar way. I tweaked different parts with a higher contrast, it’s not a warm black and white at all. I wanted it to feel cold and stark, to match the feeling of this time.”