AMMAN — A photography exhibition titled “Gratitude” opened on Sunday at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, in recognition of the efforts of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The exhibition is featuring 37 black-and-white photographs, of healthcare workers, representatives of the church, members of the Red Cross and the army as well as civilian volunteers, taken by Mikel Ponce during lockdowns in Spain.
Ponce told The Jordan Times: “I hope this small piece of documentation shows how much gratitude I have to the people who sacrificed and risked their lives by being on the front line, during the early phase of the pandemic, despite the prevailing uncertainty and doubts about the nature of the virus and the absence of means of protection against it.”
The photojournalist noted that the situation following the sudden outbreak of the pandemic was “chaotic and overwhelming”.
He said: “I remember feeling scared while I was taking these photos, because I have a wife and kids, but as a photojournalist, I knew that it was important for someone to go out there and reportwhat was going on.”
He described photojournalists as “essential workers” in these situations.
“It was important that people quarantined inside their homes get a clear picture of what was going on around them in order to alleviate the prevelant state of confusion and uncertainty,” he added.
Moreover, ponce stressed that he made sure not to allow his work to compromise the safety of his family.
“As soon as I entered my home, I used to remove all of my clothes and put them in the washing machine at high temperatures then take a shower before going anywhere near my wife or kids,” he said.
Ponce also noted that photographs are important as a documentary transferring these “difficult” experiences to future generations who might benefit and learn from them.
The opening was attended by HRH Princess Wijdan Al Hashimi, Spanish Ambassador to Jordan Miguel de Lucas and Director of the Instituto Cervantes, Juan Vicente Piqueras.
The ambassador noted that these photographs are “an example of a difficult time and a portrayal of the solidarity of Spanish people who stood together to face the pandemic’s challenges”.
The exhibition runs until October 5 as part of the Image Festival Amman 2022.