Photography and Working during a Pandemic
Photography and Working during a Pandemic
These are crazy times we are living and working in. Something out of a science fiction novel a worldwide pandemic the likes of which we haven't experienced in modern civilization. The experts call this a one-hundred-year event that the experts say may happen every five years or so.
When I first heard of a mystery respiratory virus in Wuhan, I started paying attention to the World Health Organization and learning as much as I could about SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. As a photographer who often photographs scientists, physicians and bio researchers, I am innately curious about all aspects of this public health emergency. I am also familiar with PPE - Personal Protective Equipment, you will. often find me working in a mask, and not touching anything but my camera.
Early on in the pandemic, as the world shut down for several weeks, I devoted myself to determining how photographers like myself will work in this new environment. Let's face it viruses are here all of the time, and this novel coronavirus is not going away magically, we will have to learn to work in a world with these infectious diseases. I took a paid course with Rightway Consulting, an OSHA training consulting and training group in Chicago. Photographer and ASMP member Samantha Isom worked with Rightway to create the PICC program - an in-depth certificate program for production professionals like photographers and film crews.
Here is the outline below and link https://rightwayconsulting.com/production-infection-control-course/
INFECTION CONTROL ONLINE COURSE
There are currently no government regulations, nor rules regarding COVID for production workplaces. We have built a training course culminating with a certificate of course completion, to help reassure your clients and make your sets safer for everyone involved. We cover the following topics:
- Review the Chain of Infection
- Epidemiology of this current strain of Coronavirus 2 (COVID-19)
- Discusses the main strategies of Exposure Control and elaborate on Engineering Controls (physical barriers, etc.)
- Preventative measures on how to mitigate contamination potential: PPE, EPA approved disinfectants, arriving/leaving, transport
- Proper Mask Use with explanations of the various functions and ratings of masks as to help you make an educated decision on your selection along with additional OSHA requirements if N95 (or similar)
- Hair and Makeup with a focus on PPE and disinfection
- Wardrobe review of quarantine vs. steam vs. UV, high temperature and other factors
- Catering/Crafty preventative measures and suggestions
- Explaining the position of a Health Services Team or Individual + their duties, establish a screening program for Pre and Post-production (with CDC Recommendations)
- Helping each department to use critical thinking in making wise decisions for their production environment Locations Safety Tool Kit covers must-haves like finding the right gloves, no-touch thermometer, etc.
- Sterilization of Equipment how to safely disinfect electronic devices, pros/cons of disposable options
- Risk levels and how to determine, guidelines provided by the CDC
- OSHA Current record keeping requirements
You can even search the PICC course certificate graduates here:
I also took a certificate course in Contract Tracing through the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health not because I wanted to be a contact tracer but because I wanted to understand COVID 19 from a public health perspective.
Many film production crews were asked to take the free Safe Sets International certificate course - this course covers many of the basics of COVID 19 protocols and personal Hygiene. https://practicesafesets.co/ .
I took that as well and recommend this to all of my crew and students.
As photographers and other creatives from fashion, advertising, tv film production started to gather online to discuss working in a COVID 19 environment, My friend and photographer Barry Schwartz wrote an article with industry-specific references on what we as photographers need to do getting back to work for the ASMP blog https://www.asmp.org/strictly-business-blog/when-work-begins-again/
Barry then moderated an ASMP webinar with the same topic featuring producer Amy Yvonne Yu, Los Angeles photographer Elizabeth Weinberg and myself.
ASMP has done a great job of keeping their members and the photography community up to date on the economy, public health, safety on set practices and working protocols, having just released an industry guide. https://www.asmp.org/asmp-covid-19-guide-download/
I mention all of this because it matters to me not just what I say but how I act as a photographer and a global citizen.