The Story Behind TIME's 'Covid Winter' Cover

D.W. Pine
·2 min read
The Covid Winter Time International Magazine Europe cover
The Covid Winter Time International Magazine Europe cover

Credit - Photo-illustration by Sean Freeman and Eve Steben for TIME

For this week’s cover on how Americans are reacting to the current surge in covid-19 cases, we turned to London-based artists Sean Freeman and Eve Steben to capture the bleak forecast ahead.

The duo, who form There Is Studio and specialize in combining typography and photo illustration, created an eerie, foreboding sense of isolation with a frosted window outside their east London home.

Artist Eve Steben creates the cover for the Nov. 30 / Dec. 7, 2020, issue of TIME.<span class="copyright">Courtesy of Sean Freeman</span>
Artist Eve Steben creates the cover for the Nov. 30 / Dec. 7, 2020, issue of TIME.Courtesy of Sean Freeman

“Creating a cover about lockdown while in lockdown is an interesting artistic and production challenge,” says Freeman, who produced the image in less than a day. “We created this against the clock, within our own small isolation bubble —using our own windows, as well as a tremendous amount of prop snow, shot during a grey, but rather warm London day.”

Artist Sean Freman works on the Nov. 30 / Dec. 7, 2020, issue of TIME.<span class="copyright">Courtesy of Sean Freeman</span>
Artist Sean Freman works on the Nov. 30 / Dec. 7, 2020, issue of TIME.Courtesy of Sean Freeman

This is the eighth TIME cover Freeman has designed, including the iconic “Bitter Pill” cover (Mar. 4, 2013) and the “Last Days of Osama Bin Laden” cover (May 7, 2012).

<span class="copyright">Photo-Illustrations by Sean Freeman for TIME</span>
Photo-Illustrations by Sean Freeman for TIME

“We’ve felt the harsh reality of covid quite personally here with Eve getting seriously ill from it at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as some friends and family catching it here and abroad,” added Freeman. “On the other hand, the situation also brought some positivity for us.”

“Enjoying life at a different pace, also this heartwarming sense of community, cooperation and camaraderie that covid has brought in our neighborhood and beyond, have been a solace. Seeing how the local businesses and residents have been generously helping one another has been absolutely incredible and inspiring.”