This follows a national week-long call out where the public were asked to share images that document their experience of seven days in “lockdown” from 29 April – 5 May, which resulted in nearly 3,000 submissions from across England.
The final Collection of 200 images consists of 100 public submissions, alongside more than 50 newly commissioned works by ten contemporary artists, including Malaika Kedgode from Bristol, and the remainder from Historic England’s photographers.
The call-out was the first time the public have been asked to capture photographs for the Archive since the Second World War. The 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.
An exceptional public response
The public call out received an overwhelming reception from across England, with 2,984 submissions received over the course of seven days. 424 were received from across the South West.
The submissions give a fascinating insight into people’s experiences in this unprecedented time. Images sent in by people across the South West featured a variety of ‘stay at home’ messages in street art, on public buildings, and in handmade signs in living room windows. The concept of emptiness featured strongly in submissions, especially through empty high streets, shops, piers and playgrounds, while the frustrations and loneliness of social distancing also came across strongly. Other images capture moments of connection, from children playing at a safe distance to neighbours chatting in a pharmacy queue.
Alongside the public call out, ten contemporary artists from across England were also asked to produce images documenting lockdown during the seven days. Malaika Kegode’s Bristol images juxtapose the cramped environment of a one bedroom flat with the vitality of the spring countryside nearby.
The artists were also each asked to select their favourite public submission from their region. Malaika Kegode, a multi-disciplinary artist based in Bristol, chose ‘First Day of the Holidays’ which was taken by Bill Ward on a bike ride round Victoria Park, Bristol on the first day of the Easter Holidays. Malaika said: “Not only is it a striking image, but that unmistakeable view of the Bristol skyline grounds it very much in the South West”.
Rebecca Barrett, regional director at Historic England South West said:
“The fascinating response to our Picturing Lockdown call-out sheds light on our collective and individual experiences of lockdown and provide a snapshot into this unusual time that will be accessible for future generations to see and learn from. Our thanks go out to all who submitted their work, to our 10 contemporary artists, and to our photography team who have produced an inspiring range of images.”
Picturing Lockdown: explore the photographs
top image: Kate Ainger On our own Cheltenham, South West We arrived back to the UK in late March after 10 years of living abroad. We have now lived here for a month and haven’t met anyone. This shot was taken on our daily walk on Cleeve Hill. Converting it to black and white seemed to suit the mood.
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