Between Us and Catastrophe
An outdoor exhibition showcasing portraits of the pandemic’s essential workers is on view through spring 2021.
When the COVID-19 pandemic spread and lockdowns began in March of 2020, photographer and Philadelphia resident Kyle Cassidy recognized that we were living through a historic moment. But he also recognized that for many people, especially those working on the front lines of the pandemic, the moment might pass by without a record of our everyday experiences. Cassidy’s project, Between Us and Catastrophe, was created to capture the challenges and changes faced by essential workers across the region.
“Sitting home doing nothing would have driven me mad,” Cassidy says. “To feel that somebody out there is fighting your fight for you, and there's nothing you can do to help.” As a photographer, he could put faces to the crisis and shed light on the many different kinds of workers and helpers keeping us going. Originally, this project focused on doctors and nurses, but as the shutdown progressed, Cassidy realized there were far more individuals working to keep us all alive—from food shoppers and mask makers to sanitation workers and bicycle delivery people. These are the people standing between us, and catastrophe.
The Science History Institute is proud to share these important stories. We invite you to visit our new outdoor exhibition of large-scale portraits on our Chestnut Street façade. On-site or at home, you can listen to a special audio accompaniment to the exhibition produced by our own Distillations podcast team that features exclusive interviews with Cassidy and the essential workers of the portrait series.
Throughout the spring and summer of 2020, our podcast team conducted interviews with leading figures in the world of biotech and medicine as part of the Science History Institute’s ongoing Pandemic Perspectives series. These interviews offer a fresh perspective on the COVID-19 crisis and the race for a vaccine. A podcast episode of the Between Us and Catastrophe interviews is included in the series.
Exterior exhibition and postcard design by Michael Derian.
We’re spotlighting interviews with experts from the world of science alongside Distillations articles and other content to provide historical context for our current health crisis.