Artists Tell Stories Of The Lockdown


Daily work and life routines have, for many of us, become a little more monotonous than in past times.

Some of my friends have been voicing difficulty – under our current, somewhat restrictive circumstances – in finding inspiration for their photography.

So, recently I’ve been looking (online of course!) at a lot of work by artists who are telling their stories via a range of creative mediums – be it illustration, painting or sculpture.

I’ve found that they can be a great source of inspiration – looking at the ways artists express themselves through other mediums can spark some really unique ideas for your photographic storytelling process.

Not only that, I think there’s genuine catharsis to be found in the work of these international artists, who have been moved to depict aspects of their lives under lockdown – they are a reminder that this time of apparent solitude and isolation is in truth a shared experience for all of us. 

Golrokh Nafisi 

“Recycled foods: What foods can be mixed together? How can we design a food plan for ourselves with variety? How can we come up with ways not to have repetitive lunches and dinners?”

Iranian artist Golrokh Nafisi wanted to document her friends’ newfound time to cook, and produced a series of sketches called Quarantine Kitchen. The depictions illustrate her friends’  stories of experimentation, the recreation of recipes, and of a spirit of sharing – and solidarity – that all stem from the kitchen.

Peter Marley

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Jolane, at home. – – – ‘Sociable Distance’ (working title) is an ongoing photo series made during the Covid-19 lockdown. I’ve seen them titled ‘Doortraits’ on a few other sites now and love the title. The images have been made using my governmentally approved daily walk to create a time capsule of this unusual time. Making portraits with friends, neighbours and strangers, all from a responsible distance, has been a great way to stay connected to a community whilst documenting the much quieter streets of Belfast. – – – Check out Jola’s beautiful, tender and honest photography here: @jola_foto – – – #sociabledistance #covid #covid_19 #timecapsule #belfastlockdown #Belfast #ormeau #petermarley #sonyalpha #streetportraits #lockdown #coronavirus#coronocommunity #doortraits #mylockdown #staysafe #northernireland #togetherapart #community #documentary photography #streetphotography @life_is_street #hikaricollective #holdstill2020 #stayathome #portraiture #nationalportraitgallery #bxhomelife

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Peter Marley, a photographer from Glenariff, Northern Ireland, has been using the restrictions on movement to work on a series of portraits called Sociable Distance. He has been using his daily walk “to make images that create a time capsule of this unusual period in which we find ourselves”. He writes,

“It’s warm and fantastic to see. If I had been told to imagine a dystopian future where people were wearing masks I would never have thought it was going to be so polite.”

Octavia Bromell

Sharing content on social media offers an important outlet for illustrator Octavia Bromell.

She began creating these illustrations,  as a way to fight off severe anxiety and depression. Her vibrant illustrations aim to find the joy in everyday life.”I think more people are experiencing a form of distress that feels very familiar to me,” she says. “My work has become an outlet that means I can express some positivity and, hopefully, I can share it with [other] people as well.”

Sir Antony Gormley

Sir Antony Gormley has been using his time in isolation to experiment with works of clay, expressing the mood of introspection and self-reflection that he has experienced as of late. He told the BBC:

“Most of us live our lives in ridiculous obligation to a machine that… is always telling us to do more, have more, go to more places, make more money…This is a wonderful time in which those imperatives are loosened… And we have to ask ourselves: What do we care about? What do we value? What do we love?” 


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