Arash Afshar

Photographer, Host of Burner Podcast and Founder of Justified Hype

Low-key Heroes
Some of world’s greatest minds are focused on finding solutions.

Doctors, scientists, governments and NGOs the world over are connecting, collaborating and even kinda low-key competing over who gets to come up with the best solution, vaccine or cure.

People who are passionate about what they do. They’re public health geeks and warriors of light who legit want the greater good. People whose spouses low-key complain that they spend too much time at work and when they come home they bring their work with them. They keep telling you about how much they have to work but they low-key love it and that’s why they take it everywhere. Humans who eat, breathe and live science, medicine, public service and problem solving. They’d never admit it but low-key they’re actually really excited about what they get to do right now. This is the fuel and fire artists wish for and dream of. A time of global activation and coordination and it’s their time.

All of that is happening right now but that’s not the story you see as much.

You don’t see a reality show featuring these people with cool music and dramatic camera angles. You don’t see TV introducing that key member of the international research team entering the arena with lights flashing and studio lighting and a song by DMX playing as the announcer reads off their stats of how many false positive double blinds they’ve juked in the last world inning. Because people standing around in lab coats and filling out spreadsheets is just not as sexy.

Because if it bleeds it leads.

Maybe it’s the same reason we don’t celebrate teachers the way we do football players, screenwriters the way we do the movie stars or the municipal general maintenance crews that keep our beach bathrooms operational the same way we do the movie star governors.

But this is their time. The guys at the top are doing their best to lead but they’re just guessing at best right now. This is the time of Team Human. The record keepers and spreadsheet masters from all across the globe hold the keys to solutions that the lab coat heroes and chemical compound creators in various countries are coordinating in response to what the rest of the world is asking.

It’s fast-food cheeseburger news that keeps telling you about toilet paper shortages. If it bleeds it leads and thats why they just can’t wait to tell you about the death toll. It’s a number they get to put in the headline that will make you click. They know we slow down to look when there’s a car accident and, for a moment, completely forget what a daily miracle it is to be regularly hurdling though our magnificently engineered highway system in a two ton piece of steal with confidence (arguably bordering on insanity) that the guy next to us is not going to just randomly turn his wheel towards our car and cause a 20 car pileup.

Yes… The spread of COVID-19 is a thing that’s happening. Yes, there are and will be more deaths and yes, we as a human culture may never be the same again. But also… Yes, some of world’s greatest minds are focused on finding solutions and you don’t hear as much about those heroes in lab coasts and their spreadsheets. Because if it bleeds, it leads.

I don’t have an executive mandate at my disposal. I have you, I have this blog and I have some photos of the everyday heroes we take for granted. The ones that ensure we have parks to return to, fresh air to breathe and resources to call upon.

Low-key, you have no idea how badly I wish I could be out giving the movie-star photographer treatment to the heroes in lab coats, pacing back and forth in their offices and filling out spreadsheets.
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