Threshold Spaces: Visualizing COVID-19 and the Resilient Power of the City

Irene Gammel , Natalie Ilsley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Previous studies (see, for example, Julia Sonnevend) have noted the plethora of COVID-19 visual imagery that act as powerful communicative tools. We extend these scholarly insights by focusing on the emotive visual dynamics and social operations of photograph in two city case studies—artists Bill Hayes’ and Ruth Corney’s respective New York and London photography at street level during the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020. More specifically, by taking viewers inside threshold spaces such as doorways, windows, and front yards, we argue that these artists’ images dramatize possibilities of creativity and empathy at the borders of inside/outside, visible/invisible, and visual/verbal. They reveal the emotive interaction forged between subjects and the quotidian materials of their sentient environment. Ultimately, the chapter documents how these images help guide viewers through the emotive hardships of the pandemic illuminating the operations of creative resilience, while actively soliciting the viewer’s empathy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCreative Resilience and COVID-19
Subtitle of host publicationFiguring the Everyday in a Pandemic
EditorsIrene Gammel, Jason Wang
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9781003213536
ISBN (Print)9781032100814, 9781032100791
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2022


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