COVID-19 pandemic

Chris Foxing from Eugene receives his COVID-19 vaccine booster during a sidewalk clinic set up by local business women Betty Snowden for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

I remember driving to the nearby hospital in Springfield, Oregon in the spring of 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical officials had called a press conference to announce the first official death from the disease in Lane County.

As drove through the dark I wondered what the future held? I knew I needed to document the crisis, but I had no idea how that would be possible or even if I would survive myself.

The next two years would prove to be the most challenging of my career — a slowly evolving global disaster that required almost daily cost versus benefit analysis — while adjusting to working with colleagues remotely and finding creative and safe ways to interact with the members of the community that I was trying to inform and document.

Through all of it, I witnessed the spectrum of the human condition — frustrating thoughtlessness, death, but also amazing acts of kindness and resiliency on the part of the community as they faced tragedy and uncertainty. Those memories continue to inspire.

Here are some of the images I made during that time.

Chris Pietsch is the director of photography for Gannett Newspapers in Oregon, The Register-Guard in Eugene and the Statesman Journal in Salem.

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