Documentary photographer Francois Nadeau lives in Beijing, China, and has to have a COVID test almost every 48 hours. This gave him an idea for a project.
The resulting photo series, Another Day. Another Test ,, gives viewers an up-close and personal view of the experience of being swabbed by Chinese officials.
Speaking to PetaPixel, Nadeau explains that tests are required if citizens want to go about their daily lives.
I started it about six months back. He explains that he has been working more intensely over the past month.
“Usually, you take a test every 48 hours to be able to go to commerce or take the subway. Results are on your phone later in the day. China’s phones can be used to do everything. Tests, payments, subways, etc.”
Nadeau claims that he uses both a smartphone and a traditional camera. However, things are not straightforward.
“I use my iPhone 12 so it is very discreet. The photographer states that he isn’t sure whether permission has been granted to take photos.
“I did a few times [take photos] with my regular camera. Some don’t mind, others just tell you ‘no photos.’ But I like the angle I get with the phone and the fact that the person does not know I am taking the image. The angle makes it more dramatic.”
Nadeau, who is represented by the Hans Lucas Agency, admits that some people find China’s zero-COVID policy “weird” or even “crazy.”
“You have to understand,” he says. “That the Chinese health system would have not supported lots of cases because hospitals would have been flooded with sick people. And even if it is strict, people manage to live with it and are doing COVID test almost every 48 hours.”
Despite, the unusual approach to COVID by global standards, Nadeau has great admiration for the Chinese health workers swabbing day in, day out.
“These people that do the test are hard-working people that deserve all the appreciation and support,” Nadeau explains.
They work in extreme heat repeating the gesture repeatedly and see many mouths. (The throat test is performed). They deserve all the respect. They deserve all the respect.”
For more of Nadeau’s work visit his website.
Image credits: All photos by Francois Nadeau.