The events of 2020 have changed the world as we know it. COVID-19 has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and jobs, upended the education system and gutted industries. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others have further exposed the devastation of systemic racism and police brutality. With life materially changed, we are forced to rethink how we interact with our communities.
In this photo essay, 13 photographers from The Everyday Projects — a global collective working to dispel misperceptions by documenting their home countries — return to scenes they had previously photographed. By contrasting these images of past and present, of then and now, we are reminded of a way of life that once was, and confronted with the grim unknown before us.
In addition to the 13 sets of before and after photos, you can also launch separate augmented reality experiences for five of the photographers’ locations. Immersive technology like AR has been touted for its ability to bring us virtually to places that we can’t visit physically. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this notion takes on an additional layer of relevance as travel restrictions and safety measures continue to limit visits with friends and family as well as the exploration of the world at large. Augmented reality provides an additional layer of depth, adding sound and texture to this important work.
In the five AR experiences below, you can transport yourself to Nairobi, Kenya; Kabul, Afghanistan; Atlanta, U.S.A.; Quito, Ecuador; and Wuhan, China. Recreate the feeling of being physically present at an art exhibition by placing these images in your own space and walking around them.
Click on the “Launch AR” button below the quotes to be taken into a 3D gallery experience, and hit the “Sound On” button to hear the stories of these five pairs of photographs from around the world.
Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui
One day I met this group of children who were out there playing and having a good time. They didn’t understand about politics or elections; it was a moment that was real and different from what I have been photographing the last days.
Sheila Pree Bright
The only thing I can imagine is what liberation looks like from this painful legacy of violence in the United States for Black bodies.
SHEILA PREE BRIGHT
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Yolanda Escobar Jiménez
If there’s no people, there’s no life in these spaces.
YOLANDA ESCOBAR JIMENEZ
What I want people to remember about this difficult period of time is people in Wuhan are very courageous.
The place that once upon a time was full of students’ laughs is in silence now.
Nana Kofi Acquah
Accra and Cape Coast, Ghana
HuffPost: Ivylise Simones, Creative Director; Christy Havranek, Photo Director; Damon Scheleur, Photo Editor
WebAR experiences produced by RYOT: Laura Hertzfeld, Director, XR Partner Program; Guenever Goik, Head of CG; Patrick Love, Producer; Erik Lohr, Audio Director; Matt Valerio, Project Manager; Prabuddha Paul, CG Lead; Ricky Baba, Creative Director; SJ Johnson, Creative Dev Lead
Everyday Projects: Peter DiCampo, Co-founder; Elie Gardner, Community Team, Special Projects; Wacera Njagi, Everyday Africa Coordinator