Art NotesArts & Culture

Pandemic Portraits: Photographer Sean Dunn Documents an Altered Athens

Though Sean Dunn wasn’t able to hit the road with Five Eight this spring, he’s channeled his time into a new purpose. Inspired by another photographer who has been documenting their surroundings during the pandemic, Dunn is capturing the altered landscape of Athens and its residents through near-daily installments. 

“Themes include families and individuals in isolation, and the mundane, humorous and sometimes surprising ways people present themselves at this time,” says Dunn. “I’m trying to avoid the larger themes that are already being covered, instead attempting to capture the specific and unfinished, more intimate stories.”

An opportunity for human connection, the portraits collectively paint a picture of a specific time and place in Athens history. Many familiar faces from the local music and art scenes make appearances, and it’s a relief to see them healthy and safe. 

“I don’t have a lot of confidence in my portrait work and I really want to get better, so I tend to get anxious before a shoot, which reminds me a little of stage fright before a show,” he says. “So, while we’re not playing, at least there’s that!”

Despite any feelings of self-doubt, Dunn’s portrait series has been accepted into Shelter Projects, a program spearheaded by UGA’s Willson Center for Humanities and Arts that offers $500 mini-fellowships for creative reflections on the pandemic. Intended as an ongoing project, he encourages readers interested in setting up a portrait to contact him on Instagram at @fiveeightathens or by email at Visit for the full series.



Photo Credit: Sean Dunn

George and Yuria Hatori of Pinky Doodle Poodle are back from Tokyo! But for now, they’re stuck in the house.


Photo Credit: Sean Dunn

Artist Lucy Calhoun demonstrates her strength outside Daily Co-Op.


Photo Credit: Sean Dunn

Painter and musician Vernon Thornsberry pauses to say hello during a shift at the Jittery Joe’s Roaster.


Photo Credit: Sean Dunn

Nelita Rose and Joe of Joe Willey and the Movin’ Men let their afternoon become surreal over a glass of absinthe.


Photo Credit: Sean Dunn

When she’s not shredding on stage with Man or Astro-man? or Mean Queen, Sam Paulsen works as a nurse.


Photo Credit: Sean Dunn