Coronavirus, QAnon, Trump: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering the steep increase in coronavirus cases in Europe, the growing popularity of QAnon among Germany’s far-right fringe and the latest investigation into Trump’s tax returns.

The mythology and language that QAnon uses — including claims of ritual child murder and revenge fantasies against liberal elites — conjure ancient anti-Semitic tropes and putsch fantasies that have long animated Germany’s far-right fringe. Now those groups are seeking to harness the theory’s viral popularity to reach a wider audience, among them vaccine opponents, fringe thinkers and ordinary citizens who question the threat of the pandemic.

A wider view: Officials are baffled that a seemingly wacky conspiracy theory has resonated in Germany. Polls show that trust in the current government is high, while the far-right Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, has been struggling.

Ms. Wender called on the photographer Camila Falquez, known for her distinctly formal yet whimsical portraits. “I was just excited to see what they would do together,” Ms. Wender said. “Camila is so good at creating these worlds with people.” Ms. Falquez would have only 45 minutes to create that world from the actress’s garden, while keeping a safe distance and wearing P.P.E.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Ms. Falquez said, “so I decided to light a little candle in my altar and ask for the best.”

Despite an ominous forecast for rain, drizzle gave way to an overcast sky that served as one huge, soft source of natural light, the best condition for an outdoor shoot. The animals, unperturbed by the photographer at work, ambled up to smell the camera and followed Ms. Rossellini around the house.

“I can’t believe this; I love my job,” Ms. Falquez recalled with a laugh.

For one shot, Ms. Falquez said, Ms. Rossellini was excited to put a doll on her head. For another, Ms. Rossellini fetched a chicken to hold.

Ms. Falquez had been ruminating on the effects of the pandemic for months. On that day, she recalled thinking about how unifying it seemed. “What’s beautiful is that Isabella Rossellini is changing how she does her thing. Even that woman,” she said. “We’re all in this together for real. And actually, I’m really happy with the photos. It’s art evolving through a lot of pain and challenges. It’s all of us.”

Thanks for starting your day with The Times. See you next time.

— Natasha

Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at
[email protected]

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