America Reimagined: Pandemic in Paradise

A Collaboration Between

Boyd's Station and

American Reportage​

Photographer's Journal

Pandemic in Paradise

Text and Photography by Shafkat Anowar

“It seems like this thing (Coronavirus) is bringing us together,” said Tavita Faumuina, a 25-year veteran bus operator in O’ahu, Hawaii.
He mentioned this when I was on assignment photographing essential workers for my college newspaper at the end of April. Despite focusing on all the negativity around me, I ended that day with a positive remark from him. I found that it motivated me to find bright moments in any story I cover, and realized that my photos could help me more intimately define the “new normal.”
At the end of March, Honolulu resembled a dead city. With the “stay-at-home” order, people weren’t socializing as much. The Hawaii we were seeing then was the opposite of what anyone could picture from an earlier time. No tourists were posing for a selfie; barely anyone sunbathed on the beach and, most importantly for us locals, there was no rush hour on the highways.
Intervening in an island lifestyle is different from other big cities. Any day on the beach or a hike to the mountains feels like being on holiday: this is the usual lifestyle in the Aloha State. So the sudden transition forced by the pandemic threw people into a whole level of confinement. Even though most of our freedom is still available, it is contained. There was a time when people were fined for trespassing to hikes and public parks. People are called out for not wearing masks. Thankfully, there are still plentiful food supplies.
As a student, my situation drastically changed when the university shifted everything online for the rest of the semester.

On one hand, I couldn’t find ways to cope with school, and another side, I was debating if I should put myself to risk by going out. Things started getting better in June, but surprisingly Hawaii has seen a recent spike in Covid-19 cases. 

The idea of “normalcy” has been radically altered and will likely continue until an unknown time. However, the new creative adaptations led communities within O‘ahu to be benign and resilient even during the pandemic.

More from the Project

Photographer's Journal

Minneapolis Protests

Brooklynn Kascel investigates the psychological and sociological impacts felt in the communities that make up the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

Photographer's Journal

Pandemic in Paradise

At the end of March, Honolulu resembled a dead city. With the “stay-at-home” order, people weren’t socializing as much. The Hawaii we were seeing then was the opposite of what anyone could picture from an earlier time.


Anchor Bar & Grill

The unsinkable Anchor Grill has re-opened in Covington, Ky., following closure in mid-March due to the state’s Covid-19 restrictions. Proud to call themselves a “dive,” and featuring an iconic neon sign that says “We May Doze But Never Close,” the eatery has remained open since 1946.



This project chronicles Margo Reed’s view of the COVID-19 pandemic through a cling-wrapped camera lens.



Reflections of the pandemic as seen by America Reimagined photographers.

Photographer's Journal

The Aftermath

Rod Lamkey Jr. writes about this impressions covering the aftermath of the forced removal of protesters near the White House on June 1, 2020.


Serving Through a Pandemic

Mike Simons covered the effects of thee Covid-19 Pandemic at the Iron Gate, largest stand-alone soup kitchen and grocery pantry in Tulsa.


Automobile Sanctuary

In the Covid-19 era, the vehicle has been elevated to a place of sanctuary, a vessel trusted to deliver security outside the home in insecure times.


Portraits in Quarantine

Portraits during the pandemic as photographed by America Reimagined photographers.


The work done by American Reportage and Boyd’s Station would not be possible without the generous support from PhotoShelter, the official provider of both organization’s archive systems – powered PhotoShelter for Brands.


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Michael Keating

Molly Roberts