First Place

Joshua Irwandi
Independent
Indonesia

Indonesia, 18 April 2020: The body of a suspected coronavirus victim, wrapped in yellow infectious waste plastic bags and wrappers, lies on the patient’s deathbed awaiting a body bag in a hospital in Indonesia. The wrapping of the patient, which takes two nurses a full hour to complete through three layers of plastic and nine times of disinfection, is intended to suppress the spread of coronavirus. As mandated by the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the wrapping of the body is a standard procedure for every suspected, comorbid, and positive confirmed COVID-19 death. This process continues until today. After the image was published by National Geographic, the image sparked denial and strong reaction across social media. Many who saw the image declared it to be a setup intended to spread fear. By the end of the year, Indonesia had reported around 743,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 22,000 deaths.

Joshua Irwandi (1991) is a freelance documentary photographer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Irwandi received a B.A. in English literature from the University of Exeter, and pursued graduate studies in photojournalism and documentary photography at London College of Communication. While working in West Papua, Indonesia, Irwandi focused on a long-term project on the changes in identity and landscape of the Asmat people. His project ’Not A Blank Canvas’ has been awarded the National Geographic Society exploration grant in 2021. Irwandi was a participant in the 2014 New York Portfolio Review, as well as the Eddie Adams, Magnum Photos, and VII Photo workshops. In 2020, he was awarded the Forhanna Foundation Fund for Young Talent and the National Geographic Society’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists. He has exhibited at Breda Photo Festival in the Netherlands. In 2021, he was selected as one of the speakers for the National Geographic Society’s Storytellers Summit. Irwandi’s work has been featured in National Geographic, The Times of London, and The Guardian.
[ COVID-19 ] A single photograph, candid and un-staged, that reflects the news or human experience of the impact of COVID-19. The image must be documentary and may be related to news, sports, daily life or lifestyle. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 10 images. The images must be taken in 2019 or 2020.
Judges for COVID-19
Anshika Varma
Jiro Ose
Suejin Shin
Khalil Hamra
Rena Effendi
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