Photographer’s Intense Near-Daily COVID Testing Regimen in China
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 a first-person, up-close view of what it is like to be swabbed on a regular basis by Chinese officials who pursue a zero-COVID policy.
Speaking to PetaPixel, Nadeau explains that tests are required if citizens want to go about their daily lives.
“I started that about six months ago. Going more intensively in the last month,” he explains.
“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. In China, phones are used for everything. Tests, payments, subways, etc.”
Nadeau says that he uses a mixture of smartphone photography and a more traditional camera. However, things are not straightforward.
“I use my iPhone 12 so it is very discreet. I’m not sure if I have permission to photograph,” the photographer says.
“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, sometimes in extreme heat, repeating the same gesture over and over again and they see many mouths (test is done in the throat). This project is an hommage to them. They deserve all the respect.”
For more of Nadeau’s work visit his website.
Image credits: All photos by Francois Nadeau.