In April, just as Sweden was beginning to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, I photographed a benefit concert at my favorite music hall, Pustervik, in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city. Band after band played to a virtually empty theater as the performance was livestreamed via a local newspaper’s website to audiences across the world.
Everyone followed government rules: Fewer than 50 people were present, and bottles of hand sanitizer were everywhere. After the last note was played, the 30 or so symptom-free musicians, staff, and crew gathered on stage for a group photo. The moment seemed to capture the essence of how people in Sweden are treating the pandemic: If you don’t feel sick, you’re free to live your normal life.