For nearly two years, hospital staff and nurses have been working at the limit of their capacity on hermetically sealed COVID wards. Struggling with worsening physical and mental health, having to wear protective equipment for hours on end and being constantly worried about contracting the virus and passing it on to family members, they have endured ordeals that are hard to appreciate for outsiders.
With his new project, the photographer Günter Valda – himself working as a hospital nurse – aims to give these professionals a voice and to put a face to their name. He asked staff in intensive care units to send him selfies from work and to jot down their thoughts and feelings. The result is a collection of authentic snapshots showing faces that are marked by the dramatic scenes that unfold before them every day, with furrows, dents, and red lines caused by tightly fitting masks and protective gear.
Who are the people behind these masks? What keeps them motivated? What are their thoughts? Valda’s book is a deeply emotional testimony to our time. With its powerful images, it stands in solidarity with those on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.