Camilo Jose Vergara : Documenting Crossroads: The New Normal @ The National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted millions of Americans. Right now, there are 5 million+ confirmed coronanvirus cases in the United States. Documented mostly in the New York Area; Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, Documenting Crossroads: The New Normal by Camilo Jose Vergara is a continuation of an earlier photographic series titled, Documenting Crossroads: The Coronavirus in Poor, Minority Communities created with Professor Elihu Rubin of the Yale University School of Architecture.
The online exhibition presented by the National Building Museum features 70 photographs captured by Camilo Jose Vergara during the COVID-19 pandemic directly showing everyday communities of color managing with coronavirus in their daily lives. Vergara writes, “our aim is to produce a visual portrait of residents as they deal with the virus on a daily basis.”
Not all can social distance or work from home. Essential workers still have to show up for work. The pandemic exposed the racial, socioeconomic reality we live in. In New York, wealthier, white neighborhoods received access to testing first. African Americans in most states account for more deaths due to coronavirus than Whites and are two times more likely to die from COVID-19 related complications. Hispanic, Asian, and Native American populations also have been hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19.
Vergara’s series displays people having to adapt in a global pandemic. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. At the moment, all we can do is continue to social distance, wear masks in public, wash our hands, and remain tough. Find ways to connect as a community. Address the racial discrimination in health systems. Promote workplace protection for essential workers. Take care of our mental health and reduce stress.
The National Building Museum