The magazine photographed portraits of health care workers who traveled to New York from all over the United States to help hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic

By Kaitlyn Frey
April 23, 2020 01:41 PM

Vogue‘s monthly magazine covers are known for its glamorous high-fashion photo shoots featuring supermodels, actresses and musicians. But for the magazine’s June/July issue, which dropped online one month early, Vogue took a different approach in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Following in the footsteps of Italian Vogue, which printed an all-white cover for its April issue to signify rebirth from the pandemic, editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and the Vogue team paid tribute to the health care workers fighting the virus by featuring a still-life image of a single rose by Irving Penn on the cover of its “Our Common Thread” issue. It marks the publications first still-life cover in more than 50 years, Wintour said in her editor’s letter.


“We’ve all witnessed terrible scenes and felt acutely how the coronavirus has affected our lives, and we are incredibly grateful for those who have selflessly stepped forward to keep our communities safe. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to medical workers in particular — and we have paid tribute to them here in a series of images taken by the photographer Ethan James Green,” Wintour wrote to introduce the new issue, which was created by the staff remotely.

Medical workers Vogue
Cindy Dagsaan
| Credit: Ethan James Green for Vogue

Various health care workers who traveled to New York from all over the United States to aid hospitals posed for powerful portraits while wearing face masks over their nose and mouth for protection. Along with each portrait, they explained the challenges they’ve faced during the crisis and the personal reasons they wanted to help.

“We came to make a difference in a short amount of time,” said Cindy Dagsaan, a Navy reservist and nurse practitioner from California. “Our fellow health-care providers have been working tirelessly, and it’s an honor to be working to give them a reprieve.

Medical workers Vogue
Jennifer Ratcliff
| Credit: Ethan James Green for Vogue

Jennifer Ratcliff, an Air Force colonel and orthopedic surgeon based in Florida, said: “I’ve never seen this many patients in one place. This is almost like being deployed — people having to find different places to work and use different resources to get the job done.”

New York has been the hardest hit state, with at least 257,000 positive coronavirus cases identified and deaths regularly exceeding 400 people each day, according to the New York Times. While many Americans are itching to get back to normalcy and have the economy reopen, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking a cautious approach.

“People will die if we get cocky about reopening,” Cuomo said on April 22. “To those who are upset about our careful approach — don’t blame your local official. Blame me.”

As of April 23, at least 834,340 people across the United States have tested positive for coronavirus and at least 42,501 people have died from coronavirus-related illness.

Vogue‘s June/July 2020 issue will be available on newsstands on May 23rd.

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