On Wednesday March 11, photographer Jeenah Moon finished her coverage of Harvey Weinstein. She had spent two years covering the story working for major news agencies and publications from the New York Times to Reuters, from the Washington Post to Getty Images.
Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison. “It was the very beginning of my career. I can’t believe that I covered this case for 2 years. I hope that I don’t have cover this kind of stories in the future.” She left the court that day ready for some rest and relaxation. That didn’t happen…
The next day, her new assignment was the pandemic. In the last 90 days, Jeenah has recorded every element of New York’s crisis. From COVID-19 to #blacklivesmatter, sadness to anger, through her lens.
The pictures below show Jeenah’s commitment to storytelling with pictures. She says: “I’m very shy. People are always asking me to tell me more about my photos, but the photo is what I wanted to tell. I’m a visual person.”
We first highlighted Jeenah’s work when we featured her image of the Liberty & Disinfectant sticker by RAD that went around the world. She lives on W 42nd St in Hell’s Kitchen.
Her assignments have often been heart-wrenching. Jeenah spent time around Mount Sinai and Elmhurst Hospitals. She covered elements of the story as extra hospital beds were added at the Javits Center and with USNS Comfort.
She was assigned to photograph New York’s grief. This image is of a Pastor returning from a service at a Brooklyn Cemetery.
When the New York Subway closed for the first time, she went out to Coney Island on the last train. As they cleared the cars of the homeless and started the clean up, she took pictures.
While on assignment for the Washington Post, one evening on the subway she was attacked by a guy who didn’t like her taking his picture. He tried to break her camera. She had to call the police. They identified the guy as a temporary MTA Worker.
One of her assignments was to document Asian hate crime in New York. Jeenah is from South Korea. She’s been targeted frequently with hate, she’s been spat on.
For the last two weeks, Jeenah has been photographing protests after the murder of George Floyd. She’s managed to capture confrontation, burning, looting and poignant moments.
On the first Saturday, Jeenah recalls: “I was sent over to Flatbush. So many things were going on. Protesters hurling bricks, bottles, and traffic cones at the police. Protesters screamed while they were being detained. The protesters and NYPD were so intense. I saw a police SUV on fire. I heard two explosions.”
Jeenah got pepper sprayed twice. “The first time it went in my hair, and I was Ok,” she describes, “the second time it got inside my glasses. That wasn’t nice!”
Later in the weekend she went to Astor Place. She took the poignant picture of the chef at Ray’s Pizza staring out at what was unfolding in the streets. Her next picture taken through windows was of the looting of the GAP Store.
Jeenah has continued to cover the protests. Capturing images and moments that are now part of New York History.
When Jeenah is shooting she says: “I just think that this moment is never coming back. If I don’t capture it, it’s a moment we won’t see any more.”
You can follow Jeenah Moon’s work on Instagram.