In mid-March 2020, at the very beginning of the containment, the French agency HOsiHO, a bank of aerial images of the World seen from above, and a national network of UAV telepilots, launched a vast operation to collect aerial and ground images showing the multiple aspects of confined cities around the world.
Its appeal to UAV telepilots and aerial filmmakers contributing to its collection of more than 30,000 images solemnly stated the following:
" In these uncertain times, we visual creators must continue to produce images for history. The world will need them to remember and explain."
Most of the artists immediately grasped the historical moment we were living through, and immediately set about filming Absence in Confined Cities, while respecting the health and air regulations of the countries where they were working. For the agency's principle is first and foremost to offer only aerial images taken legally with all the required authorisations.
In 45 days, the 200 authors who make up the HOsiHO agency have therefore undertaken to film their regions and their often deserted cities. In France, Europe and the United States.
Thus, these images, historical in more than one way, show the absence and emptiness in streets, squares, avenues, parks and gardens, shopping malls, tourist sites, beaches, cathedrals, churches, airports, train stations, markets, schools, highways, etc...
They make one feel the heavy and forced silence of the confined cities, through images.
The calm and anguish that paradoxically go together for the occasion.
They also show the relative collective respect of this constraint on citizens, deprived of spring, work, walks, holidays, schooling.
At the beginning of May, the Covid-19 collection initiated by HOsiHO, already includes more than 4000 videos and aerial photos on 65 cities in France and in the World, confined because of the epidemic due to the coronavirus.
London, Paris, Athens, Los Angeles, Miami, Fort Lauderdale (Florida), Warsaw, Bucharest, Stockholm, Visby (Sweden), Lille, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Toulouse, Metz, Tourcoing, Roubaix, Valenciennes, Dunkirk, Vannes, Brest, Aix-en-Provence, Rennes, La Rochelle, Ile de Ré, Limoges, Belfort, Morlaix, Reims, Colmar, Blois, Lisieux, Deauville, Amiens, Douai, Lorient, Nantes, Strasbourg, Saint-Malo, Romorantin, Caen, Rouen, Bayonne, Avignon, Lyon, Coutances, Narbonne, Quimper, Landerneau, Perpignan, Arles, Beauvais, Béthune, Mont-Saint-Michel, Lens, Calais, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Arras, Saint-Emilion, Libourne, Carcassonne, Béziers, Pointe-à-Pitre, Fort-de-France, Reunion Island
These same drone pilots, located in every corner of France and Martinique, also took the measure of the historic day that was May 1st, 2020.
A day on which traditionally the parades of trade unions hit the ground in all major cities.
This year, as no parade was allowed, the streets remained deserted and this is precisely what the HOsiHO network wanted to immortalize in pictures.
Through an exceptional system set up in eleven major cities, the HOsiHO network of UAV operators was able to capture images that will remain historic: those of a confined May Day, where parades were banned due to the global pandemic caused by Covid-19.
In addition to their final destination in the image bank, a complete set of images was made available to the press and media from 5:30 pm, for immediate release that same evening and the next day.
As part of a global partnership between the INA and the HOsiHO agency, part of this Covid-19 stock images are already distributed by the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel.
The INA will add to its catalogue, in May 2020, a large part of HOsiHO's aerial footage collection (Covid and non-Covid).