Local Communities (Final version))

For several months I have been volunteering at refill shop in Flo’s, a local community-owned family centre. The idea of a refill shop is a place where goods are sold loose and the customer brings their own container. Customers bring empty bottles for various liquids – cleaning products, shampoo, cooking oils – or containers for dried goods sold by weight. My original intention for this project was to photograph other volunteers along with a short piece about their reasons for volunteering. Of those I have had regular contact with I know that their reasons are often quite varied.

As a location selling foodstuffs and cleaning products, the shop is classed as a key resource and is allowed to remain open during the lockdown. However the rules in place during the spring lockdown meant I was unable to visit the shop as often as I’d intended. I could justify bringing my camera along when I was actually working there, but could not visit at other times. Since I was not able to get enough photographs of different people, I have reworked the shots I have got to try and illustrate the effects on the shop of the lockdown. Rather than just photographs of volunteers, I have combined those I have taken with other images.  My intention here is not straight documentary, but rather to use the combinations of images to get across the rapidity of changes to normal life.

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