Picturing Lockdown

In April I was commissioned by Historic England to photograph 7 days of Lockdown. They were running a national project and i had been selected as the north easts regional photographer.I don’t think of myself as a ‘lens based artist’ or even necessarily as a ‘photographer’. However, on reflection I do use photography a lot to document my ephemeral works and without those photographs my work would not exist in the same way. So i think it has sparked an interesting conversation with myself about my wider practice.



Running from Wednesday 29 April to Tuesday 5 May, the aim of the #PicturingLockdown project was to create a unique and reflective record of a week across the nation during this extraordinary moment in history.

Historic England wanted to spark a conversation about identity and its connection to history and place, and help people navigate their way through with reflection, expression and creativity.

The call-out was the first time the public have been asked to capture photographs for the Archive since the Second World War. It aimed to spark conversations about identity and has now created a unique and reflective record of a week across the nation, during this extraordinary moment in history.
These unique responses have formed a visual record in Historic England’s Archive, the nation’s archive for records of England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history, which will help us shape what we remember about this time.
I was conscious of taking photos that would mark this time in a way other than the popular images of rainbows, clapping for the NHS and empty shelves in shops. Climate change is as much a part of COVID19 as anything else, it has momentarily taken a back seat but is still present and impacting on our daily lives.
People were talking of the return of nature, the clearer cleaner air, the silence without cars all couched in a positive manner within the crisis and context of the pandemic.
My image of the rain on the bin lid was  referencing ‘bin day’ one of the few communal routines which was still in place and acted as a connection point for neighbours. Also the rain had been scarce and perhaps had made lockdown easier to tolerate with the good weather. The clear skies of the plane free flight path. The taped off benches where people could watch the sea view but no longer able to sit and rest and maybe gather with others to remember. Finally the text of ‘You are the only one here’ referencing the plethora of video meetings people had been involved in with working from home and also the increase in isolation and loneliness the social distancing has brought about.