Photographs of New York commuters returning to a 'new normal' after emerging from lockdown

© Stephen Jess. Via submission. All images courtesy of the artist

The "new normal" might be something we're all coming to terms with, as we continue to adjust our lifestyles to fight off Covid-19. But how are New Yorkers coping in what was named at one point "the coronavirus capital of the world"?

Stephen Jess wanted to find out. The Belfast-born photographer and film editor, now based in the city, ventured out into the NYC Subway over ten days during July, capturing the mood and atmosphere of locals emerging from lockdown.

In his black and white series, Commute, we see near-empty carriages as many opt to stay working from home, perhaps too frightened to venture out like before. Of those Stephen does feature, they wear masks, barely looking at one another, avoiding others where possible – which is often impossible in such a crowded place.

"Despite the ever-present sense of isolation, familiar energy begins to appear as New Yorkers adapt to life in the 'new normal'," Stephen tells us. "This candid street portraiture pays poetic witness to New Yorkers grit and glamour as the city transitions from Phase Three into Phase Four."

Stephen has over 20 years experience in commercials, features and branded content. His editorial work has included national and global advertising campaigns for clients including Apple, Google, Nike, Instagram, as well as award-winning documentary feature films. Discover more at stephenjess.net.

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess

© Stephen Jess