Demonstration of technical and visual skills
The sequence of photographs here has been chosen to deliberately move from darker to lighter tones, to try and represent the change from anxious uncertainty towards a slightly greater clarity.
I intentionally photographed the view down the lane out of focus to depict the lack of clarity at the start of the lockdown.
Quality of outcome
I made a deliberate choice to largely exclude people from these images. This is not just as a literal depiction of life but also to add emphasis to the idea of unreality.
I had experimented with making deliberately grainy images by cropping and enlarging photographs taken using very high ISO. In the end I decided not to use this style for the work here as I felt it would add too much negativity to the set.
I took over 200 photographs for this work before reducing this to a shortlist of 15. This shortlist is shown in contact print form below.
Demonstration of creativity
I used barriers in various forms to symbolise the obstacles that had to be negotiated before any return to normality would be possible. This is shown in the bars on the gate closing off the indoor market, the barrier preventing access to the health centre, the sofa and tyre outside closed shops, and also the wall of the car park in between the camera and the outside world. The two doves on the wall by the health centre barrier was a happy accident.
Sport (or the lack of it) also seemed a useful metaphor for the social shutdown. Although the shortlist includes three images relating to this, I selected only one in the end to avoid too much emphasis on this aspect. I chose to use the image of the family out cycling together as a way to depict a sense of slow awakening. I chose the two figures in the distance beyond the trees as the final image for the reason.
Although the course notes introduced the work of Anders Petersen, Jacob Aue Sobol and Daido Moriyama after I had begun this work, I was already aware of Moriyama and also Masahisa Fukase. I have tried to use the same less literal approach to this project, rather than relying on a straightforward depiction of my environment.
The general air of emptiness I found when out and about during the early days of this period put me in mind of Sarah Pickering’s ‘Public Order’ project. Although she photographed a completely artificial environment, her work does evoke a similar sense of uncanniness that I found in the empty city centre.