MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For all the misery of the coronavirus pandemic, it has also inspired a burst of creativity from photographers, both amateur and professional.

Ron Haviv has traveled the world as a professional photojournalist for 30 years, raising awareness about human rights abuses. Now he’s covering a different kind of suffering.

“It is a war that we are fighting, human beings against this virus. It’s something that is larger than anything that I’ve really documented before,” he said.

Each picture is building a visual record of this historical time.

“Our responsibility is to make sure that we are observing and documenting the history that’s happening before us so when we look back, or when we want to look back, in a week, a month, a year, five years, there are things to look back at,” Haviv said.

The professionals are getting plenty of help.

Shutterfly President Jim Hilt said, “our business overall really has grown in the significant double digits.”

Hilt has seen a surge in photo storage since the pandemic along with a 50% increase in photo gifts, as amateur photographers find inspiration in once-in-a-lifetime scenes.

“People step back and say, you know what, this is a unique time in my life, and as much as I want to be done with it, I’m going to make sure that I look back on it and recognize what was meaningful about it,” Hilt said.

Google Photos has also seen a jump so big it decided to stop backing up pictures from messaging apps to save space.

Haviv, co-founder of VII Agency, said photography has the ability to humanize.

The pandemic has cut close to the bone for Haviv. His father died of the coronavirus in May, a loss he shared with the world through his lens.

“You can witness that and see the family interaction and you can say, that could be, very easily, myself and my family. That’s where photography really comes in,” he said.

Comments (4)