LEIGHTON IN LOCKDOWN
DOORSTEP PORTRAITS OF OUR COMMUNITY DURING THE 2020 COVID-19 LOCKDOWN
Leighton in Lockdown is a community photography project which I organised from April - May 2020. Like many people all over the country, the global COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdown, left me with no work coming in, and feeling a little lost. I wondered what I could do to fill my days, and how I could be useful to my community during this time. This was how I came to create Leighton in Lockdown.
I decided to use my daily exercise to cycle around my town (Leighton Buzzard) with my camera, and take photos of local people/families to document our local community. I visited their homes, standing at the end of the drive or at least 2 metres away, to ensure social distancing at all times, and then took a portrait of whoever was currently living in the home during lockdown. I then sent the participants the digital file afterwards for them to keep as a special memory of them and their home at this unprecedented time in our history, and my hope was to bring a little happiness to people who maybe don't have any professional photos already, or who may have been feeling lonely/lost and needed to see a friendly face and to feel involved in the community during this time of isolation. The project was completely free of charge - I just wanted something to keep me busy, give me focus, and to give something back to our local community at the same time.
I have been posting the images on my social media most days to keep people updated and have had lots of nice feedback about how seeing others in the community in my photos has been cheering people up and helping to grow a feeling of togetherness - it's even brought a few tears from families who haven't seen each other for months, but who have been able to connect through my photos. I asked participants to incorporate any props they might think appropriate to show what they had been doing during lockdown - ie if they'd been baking, they might bring a cake/mixing bowl, if they'd been running, they might wear their exercise gear, if they'd been gardening, they might bring a trowel, if they'd been working as a key worker, they might wear their uniform. There was also lots of great artwork on display from the children in the town, and even some grown ups who had been using the time to get creative! This has really helped to bring the photos to life and to show the great variety of lockdown experiences in the town.
After the project was finished, I combined all of the photos into one big collage, documenting our community and what things looked like here during lockdown. I am hoping I might be able to display this collage in the town for people to enjoy, perhaps through a permanent copy in the library, or an exhibition.
This project has been such a positive thing to do, and I have really enjoyed meeting so many new people in our community and helping to spread some positivity during this time. I hope you will enjoy looking at these photos, and getting a sense of what things have looked like here during Leighton in Lockdown.