As the world shut down for the worst pandemic in a century, I soothed myself by looking at photos of the previous one (I know, I know, but that’s who I am). The 1918 Flu Pandemic was, by all accounts (at least to date), far more virulent than COVID-19, for myriad reasons.
The images of the 1918 pandemic surprised me because even though I consider myself an obsessive viewer of vintage photography, I had never noticed the masks. Just like today, there were, in fact, city-wide ordinances requiring face coverings. And just like today, not everyone was convinced they needed to comply.
As I walk around these days, breathing my own stale breath, I think about those photos, eerie in black and white with a classic cinema horror-movie feel. And as I do with everything else I think about, I drew them.
If you want to buy one of these original pieces or a print, I will donate the proceeds to the SF-Marin Food Bank, which has mobilized to continue to provide some of the Bay Area’s most vulnerable with support during the pandemic. Please contact me through www.americanchickens.com to inquire.
— Lisa Brown
Locust Avenue, Mill Valley, California
London, United Kingdom
(Note the little cup masks)
Actually, this one was from 1913, I’m not sure where it was taken.
Merely some strange veiled fashion-choices, I guess.
Conductorettes! New York, New York
Left: Penelope and Tommy; right: Mrs. Shaw and Golly