top of page

Pandemic Budapest

Photos from behind the travel ban

In March of 2020, Orbán and his government issued the first message to the Hungarian people that the country would observe a full-scale quarantine to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Shops closed, people cut their own hair, and eventually the borders were shuttered to any outside travel. Thus the city fell into a slumber, still pulsing with the heartbeat of local residents, but a quieter, more intimate heartbeat. 

For Hungarians, and the expats who live here, it was a new type of world, and in that unnatural quiet and calm, I snapped the shutter. 

    For more, click on the photo to enlarge.

Soviet lenses

Most of these photos are shot on old vintage lenses which I have collected while living in Budapest, usually USSR and GDR builds, as they are cheap and abundant on secondhand marketplaces in the city. I find they lend a unique texture to the pictures, in a way reminiscent of the Communist era from whence they came. This series is in reference to the pandemic, but also a nod to Hungary's Communist past, when visitors would come here to "peak behind" the iron curtain.

WeLoveBudapest said:

Gretchen Kessler is a well-known photographer here at We Love Budapest, contributing her talents to many of the articles and videos published on the site. It comes as no surprise then that when the times got tough, Gretchen got creative, and her latest series 'Pandemic Budapest: Photos from behind the travel ban' is an artistic perspective on the restrictions keeping the world at bay.


bottom of page