20:20 pandemic from the Spanish Flu to Coronavirus

As I write this post in the middle of March, the world is currently in the grips of a global pandemic. The rate at which this virus is spreading, I am sure there will have been many changes by the time this post is scheduled. To keep my sanity in the turbulent times, I decided to make a start on my 20:20 project. To keep things topical I have created my first image in this series “20:20 – pandemic”.

I’m getting panxiety

I am usually a level headed person, who is lucky enough to not suffer anxiety in everyday life. However, I must admit for the first time I am finding the new crisis difficult to cope with.

Whether it is because I am usually a planner, when times get hard, I make a plan and organise my life. That is my coping mechanism. I have realised in the last few days, that no amount of planning is going to help over the coming months.

So how am I silencing the dark voices in my head? Distraction therapy! If you follow my blogs on a regular basis – you will be aware that photography is my therapy. So this week I have made a start on my new project, that has been in the planning stages for months!

Spanish Flu Vs Coronavirus

My 20:20 project is all about making comparisons to life in the “roaring” 1920s and today. I came up with many scenarios that I could us to compare and contrast. However, this new pandemic has given me a subject I wasn’t originally planning on covering. It made sense though as it seems relevant.

In 1920 the country was at the tail end of a major flu pandemic. Originating in 1918 during WWI the flu epidemic went on until December 1920. It was the worst epidemics in history with a huge death toll. This was thought to be made worse due to malnutrition and restrictions of wartime.

What is interesting to see is that the advice from government hasn’t really changes in the last 100 years. To protect yourself and others, the posters of the time give out the same message.

I decided to recreate a poster from the Spanish Flu epidemic as part of a large art work.

20:20 pandemic - reproduction of the 1920s Spanish flu information poster

I also recreated one of the recent information posters issued by the UK government as a comparison.

20:20 pandemic - reproduction of the 2020 information poster

20:20 pandemic – in art

I wanted to include these posters side by side in one piece of art. It is interesting to see how design, colours and words used have changed to increase impact. And yet the messages they give out are pretty much identical.

20:20 pandemic - a comparison of information dissemination 100 years apart

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I will be added to this series over the course of the year. Who know where this project may lead me. Economic depression, black markets leading to people desperate to get out an have fun again! It is starting to look more and more like history may be repeating itself…….watch this space!

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