Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

This is the weekly Amplify newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Amplify and all Globe newsletters here.

Photographer Melissa Tait is pictured here in Northern Manitoba on assignment during the manhunt of Canadian fugitives Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, in July 2019.

Renata D'Aliesio

It’s a cliché, but it’s true: A picture is worth a thousand words. The Globe’s team of photojournalists has been on the forefront of our coronavirus coverage for weeks, capturing both haunting and heartwarming images, which readers would never see from the confines of their homes.

On Wednesday night, I caught up with Globe photographer Melissa Tait on a video conference call to get a sense of what it’s been like covering the story of her career (so far), and the challenges of recording history from a distance.

Story continues below advertisement

Melissa, I see we’re both having a drink right now, so “cheers …”

[Laughs] Cheers!

How are you holding up?

It’s daunting to think that this is how it’s going to be for a while, but I’m so lucky my actual job is also focused on it because I’d be more of a distracted mess otherwise. [Laughs]

You tweeted last night about covering the manhunt for two Canadian fugitives last summer, which was a pretty wild story at the time. I think that tweet captured what many of us are feeling right now – this sense that the world was already a bit crazy and now this happens.

Yeah, totally.

This pandemic kind of crept up on a lot of us. We knew about it happening in China, and then Italy … and then suddenly it was on our doorstep. When did it hit you that this was a very, very big deal?

Story continues below advertisement

It’s funny how my brain figured that out. I sit with [Globe health reporters] Kelly, Carly and Wency and they’d been working gangbusters on this file for a week or so. And I have the distinct memory of Nicole [lead editor on the coronavirus coverage] coming up to Kelly around the time the guy from the PDAC conference tested positive for coronavirus … and she said, “Okay, I think we need to go all hands on deck.” And when I heard her say that, I knew. I knew this story was going to roll.

One of things that’s so striking about this story is how quickly it moves.

Yeah. Even our video explainer is kind of out of date … it says wash your hands and if you’re sick, stay away from other people. Now, it’s like: Just stay home. Doesn’t matter if you’re sick or not. Stay home.

You’re working from home now, like almost all of us are. What’s a typical day for you like these days?

My typical day is, get up … walk to my desk –

What is that, like 30 or 40 feet away?

Story continues below advertisement

[Laughs] Yeah, I live in like a 500-square foot apartment. Actually, I check my phone first. And I have a monitor from work and a chair from work so that’s good. And then it’s figuring out what projects we’re working on. Usually around noon or 1 p.m., photo editors start calling me to do assignments. But even then, sometimes I’ll spend an hour and half taking a photo and I send it in and my editor is like, “Oh, we’re going to go with an international photo for the front page.”

Have you ever felt unsafe?

No, I don’t feel at risk but I worry about putting other people at risk. I’m not immunocompromised, and I’m in full control of myself. I can clean myself and clean things, but I can’t control other people. I went into another person’s house a week ago, and I was very careful. I touched nothing. It’s so weird though because usually when I meet someone to photograph I shake their hands say, “I’m Melissa, nice to meet you.” Now it’s like, “Okaayyy …”

You have to be so careful.

Yeah. I do remember, too, taking a picture of a woman and she put her hand on a banister and I told her not to. It wasn’t because I was afraid she would get sick, but it’s because I thought the photo would look weird. We’re just so aware now. People would see that picture and be like, 'Why is she touching that banister?"

Yeah, it’s strange how quickly a new normal can set in. Even watching people on TV, I’m like, “Why are they standing so close?!”

Story continues below advertisement

Yeah. And that’s another parallel I feel to covering the manhunt. The whole way you orient yourself changes.

Any photos from the pandemic that stand out for you?

I chose this one [below] of autoworkers in China eating lunch. It’s graphically striking. At the same time it communicates a sense of togetherness and loneliness that so many of us are feeling. Plus, there are no masks, it’s not an empty town square – just people doing something​ normal in extraordinarily abnormal circumstances.

This photo taken on March 23, 2020, shows employees eating during lunch break at an auto plant of Dongfeng Honda, in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

How are you staying sane?

Working. I know it sounds dumb, but I have journalism FOMO [fear of missing out]. The Sunday night before this story really took off I had a hard time sleeping, I could feel this gearing up, and I was up thinking about what to do and how to do it. So I’m lucky I’m working.

You’re out in the public more than most of us. What’s the mood out there?

Story continues below advertisement

The people I’ve met are all at a general sense of uneasiness. … but also, there’s a weird sense of community. We’re all in it. And every single person I pass on the street, I swear they’re all talking about COVID. [laughs]

How do you think we’re going to come out of this?

I’m a positive person. I think we’re going to come out of this with a bit more sympathy, a bit more empathy. I mean … I hope so. I don’t think you can go through something this uncertain and scary and not come out of it a better person.

It’s fair to say this is the biggest story you’ve ever covered?

Are you kidding me … yes, yes … 100 per cent yes.

This interview had been edited an condensed.

Story continues below advertisement

What else we’re thinking about:

If you’re already tired of Netflix, Zoom workouts and Marie Kondo-ing your home, you’re not alone. Finding meaningful – and safe – ways to contribute to the world might help with dealing with the anxiety of living through a pandemic. Some ideas: Donate blood, bring food to a foodbank or send money to shelters for women. Those interested in supporting photography might consider a donation to Women Photograph, which has set up an emergency fund for freelance photographers who have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19.

Inspired by something in this newsletter? If so, we hope you’ll amplify it by passing it on. And if there’s something we should know, or feedback you’d like to share, send us an e-mail at amplify@globeandmail.com.

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies