In March, ICP commissioned five photographers based in various parts of New York to make work in response to the COVID-19 crisis. They are Yuki Iwamura, Sarah Blesener, Jeenah Moon, Gaia Squarci, and Jeff Mermelstein. Although they are from very different cultural backgrounds, all are alumni of ICP’s One-Year Certificate Programs. They worked through the month of April, when the virus was at its initial peak in the city.

Each photographer’s experience was different, and each made a distinctive approach. The results include reportage, image-text storytelling, autobiography, fiction, and street photography. The restrictions under which they worked were severe, but restrictions often motivate image makers to be resourceful, to find new means of expression. Breaking with expectations of themselves and the medium, they experimented in pursuit of visual strategies to shed important light upon what the people of the city endured that month.

About the Projects

Yuki Iwamura



Sarah Blesener

Jeenah Moon

Gaia Squarci

Jeff Mermelstein



Image: Jeenah Moon, from “Life Goes On,” April, 2020. © Jeenah Moon
An elderly lady blowing out the candles. Sarah Blesener, from “Slow as Summer is, Still,” 2020. © Sarah Blesener
An abandoned hospital bed on a city street.  Yuki Iwamura, An empty bed placed outside of Maimonides Medical Center with the sign of “TRIAGE,” Brooklyn, NY, April 3, 2020. © Yuki Iwamura
A woman as seen from behind a steamy glass shower screen. Gaia Squarci, from “In No Time,” April, 2020. © Gaia Squarci
An out of focus police officer with a mask astride a horse, with the camera focusing on the background, an office building where a row of windows spell out "Thank You" alongside a heart with the help of poster boards. Jeenah Moon, from “Life Goes On,” April, 2020. © Jeenah Moon
Two bald mannequins wearing COVID 19 masks and sunglasses. Jeff Mermelstein, from “April 2020,” 2020. © Jeff Mermelstein

Special Thanks

COVID New York: Five ICP Alumni has been made possible by generous support of the ICP Exhibitions Committee: Luana Alesio, Debby Brown, Michael Clinton, Marnie Gelfman, Almudena Legorreta, Elizabeth Richebourg Rea, Helena Sokoloff, and Heather Vrattos.

Exhibitions at ICP are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional exhibition support is provided by the Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, Inc.