Words and Photos by Thomas Hengge

Normally he would sleep over at his girlfriend’s house. The night before his father died, something told him to come home.

On March 20 at 4:30 a.m., Kyle Jackowski was jolted awake by screams echoing throughout his parent’s Long Island home. It was his mother, Sally.

Bursting into the room, he found his father, Chris, sitting up on the bed, both feet on the floor, breathing rapidly, heavily, trying to catch his breath, delirious from fever hallucinations. Sally was frantically trying to figure out what was wrong with her husband.

“I jumped up out…

A Freelance Photojournalist’s Experience at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Photo: Thomas Hengge

It felt like business as usual for whatever this was supposed to be, a show of force, maybe? I was running low on charge and felt like the mob had come to a standstill, a good time to regroup. I mean, how much further could they get?

Up since 5 AM in the cold had me bone-chilled. This move cost me entry into the Capitol building.

Usually, I trust my gut. In this case, it was supremely wrong. In hindsight, probably for the best.

I walked from the…

Photo: Thomas Hengge

For my family, Christmas this year was small, different, like everyone else’s. FaceTimes and phone calls replaced hugs and kisses. A negative COVID-19 test, the ticket to come to dinner in person — even then, rightfully so, it was kept limited.

In April, COVID-19 overwhelmed New York City.

As hundreds of deaths became thousands, death became our new normal. I traveled through eerily quiet, deserted streets across the five boroughs, documenting abandoned tourist destinations, desolate subway tunnels, emptied parks and locked up businesses.

We saw things you just don’t see in NYC. The USS Comfort crawling up the Hudson, the Javits Center converted into a military-style hospital, temporary facilities in Central Park. Temporary morgues grafted to hospitals across town.

Thomas Walter Hengge

Thomas Hengge is an New York-based photojournalist.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store