Nottingham In Quarantine – Saturday night and Sunday afternoon , Part 1
Making this set of photographs happened to be the most surreal and arguably intense photography experience I’d had for quite a few years. By way of context , on the Friday before the Government had formally announced the closure of pubs , bars , nightclubs and entertainment venues to slow down the spread of the novel Coronavirus Covid-19. And on the Monday evening following – Boris Johnson announced the closure of all non-essential businesses apart from supermarkets and pharmacies , and ordered people to stay inside their homes.
It goes without saying , that with all entertainment venues shut at the time of taking – the city centre suddenly took on a very different atmosphere – one which bordered on the surreal , but also one which I found quite relaxing. Relaxing in the sense that , with the urban fabric being stripped of people and sensory input, which comes I was able to focus more squarely on finding images in the surreal urban landscape.
Photography for me – in a personal setting away from client assignments – is something I tend to really see as a solitary pursuit – a continuously unfolding dialog with me continuously interrogating the world around me , and the answers coming back in terms of images. The weather and ambient conditions change the environment , which in turn changes the light – and the way in which stories can be told with it.
Having said that I was curious to see what would change on the Sunday afternoon , compared to how I shot them on the Saturday evening – so I headed out again after dropping some groceries by my Mum’s way (which hadn’t been plundered in panic).
The surprising thing – is that there really wasn’t a difference. There were far , far less people then usual on a Sunday , with only a few more people being around – then compared to the Sunday. Many retailers had chosen to close their doors voluntarily – before the lockdown was announced the day after.
A couple of panda cars from Nottinghamshire Police were patrolling the city – presumably to deter those who are thinking of taking advantage of the current situation – and to make sure nobody’s opening their pubs . One thing I heard oddly enough was someone on a bike with a portable boombox choosing to play a Sophie Hawkins number – the song which probably most comes to mind is this Mansun’s Wide Open Space to sum up what I’ve seen.
There were a couple of people around I’m unfortunate to report who clearly seemed the worse for wear – and unwell – but in the main with there being very few people around things were OK and I was able to stay safe and keep an adequate distance at the time.
As it happened – that Sunday afternoon was the third time I’d been out with my camera around the city centre.
I’d been around the Thursday (19th) – trying to make sense of all things really having learnt about the effects of Coronavirus on my future income , with it being my first day being out of a week of self isolation , getting to grips with how the world had fundamentally shifted. The weather of the day was flat and lifeless , and the end results of the photography reflected that – but the job of the camera then was for me to be able to centre myself in a changed reality.
p.s I’ve been sent a link to document , which is being constantly updated outlining some possible sources of financial assistance for the self-employed and freelancers which you might find as useful as I have done:
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