British Asian woman, in her late thirties, standing in Sutton Park Birmingham. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya RZ67.
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"This lockdown has been a bit of a reset for me. The sudden freeze and confinement at home has been, at times, challenging. Explaining MS can be difficult, especially when you “don’t look poorly”. The kids have started to understand it a little more, and it’s a God send that my husband understands when my symptoms are at their peak and I need to stop.

One of the biggest things I have learnt is that I can’t push myself too much, otherwise I struggle for days after. Using the amazing energy we have wisely is so important. I have started to let go of emotional guilt, or the feeling of being judged, I used to worry over."


Navi Aulak, 38, in Sutton Park.

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"This lockdown has been a bit of a reset for me. The sudden freeze and confinement at home has been, at times, challenging. Explaining MS can be difficult, especially when you “don’t look poorly”. The kids have started to understand it a little more, and it’s a God send that my husband understands when my symptoms are at their peak and I need to stop.

One of the biggest things I have learnt is that I can’t push myself too much, otherwise I struggle for days after. Using the amazing energy we have wisely is so important. I have started to let go of emotional guilt, or the feeling of being judged, I used to worry over."


Navi Aulak, 38, in Sutton Park.

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During lockdown I was lucky enough to experience a strong sense of community and good neighbourliness. During this time I made new friends and acquaintances with people on my street I hadn’t talked to in the 6 years I’d lived here. Growing up in a corner shop I had always known my neighbours and community, and lockdown meant I finally built that same sense of belonging.


When I approached this work to create lockdown stories, I wanted to extend the feeling of good will and togetherness I had experienced, to others that might not have been so fortunate and had perhaps endured minimal contact with others. 


Through a network of family, friends, colleagues and organisations I began engaging with people across the city about their life in lockdown and recording a dialogue of how the pandemic had affected them. Each participant then chose the location that best encapsulated their lockdown experience and we worked on producing a set of collaborative portraits.


During this project dialogues with the participants became really important and I recorded their words and conversations. The final work featured here includes the text collected. I am currently working on a book that features the images and art work from the participants too.


This project was made possible thanks to a GRAIN Projects commission, part of the national programme 'Covid -19 Responses', supported by Birmingham City Council, Arts Council England and National Lottery Players.

A white pensioner aged married couple, photographed in their back garden in Sutton Park Birmingham. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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Avid gardeners in normal times, Bob, 72, and Alison, 73, were so grateful for the outside space they had during lockdown. Bob built a new gate and is growing some tomatoes in his greenhouse. Alison got the jigsaw puzzles they usually kept for winter out, and then theystarted the mammoth task of sorting through their old photo slides.


It started with a trip down memory lane looking at their 25th wedding anniversary trip to Canada. They discarded 6,500 slides, and kept 16,000.

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Avid gardeners in normal times, Bob, 72, and Alison, 73, were so grateful for the outside space they had during lockdown. Bob built a new gate and is growing some tomatoes in his greenhouse. Alison got the jigsaw puzzles they usually kept for winter out, and then theystarted the mammoth task of sorting through their old photo slides.


It started with a trip down memory lane looking at their 25th wedding anniversary trip to Canada. They discarded 6,500 slides, and kept 16,000.

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A middle aged black woman photographed in their conservatory in. She works in the theatre. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"At first I really struggled. We were in the beginning throws of a national theatre tour across England. I was one of the co-writers for a show called ‘Wanted’ about five formidable women, and I was also starring and directing in it, so it was a massive job for me. It was so sad for that to come to an abrupt end after all the hard work and effort from myself, the team and Gazebo theatre. So, the first bit of lockdown it was like I was in mourning!"


Tonia Daley-Campbell.

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"At first I really struggled. We were in the beginning throws of a national theatre tour across England. I was one of the co-writers for a show called ‘Wanted’ about five formidable women, and I was also starring and directing in it, so it was a massive job for me. It was so sad for that to come to an abrupt end after all the hard work and effort from myself, the team and Gazebo theatre. So, the first bit of lockdown it was like I was in mourning!"


Tonia Daley-Campbell.

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Dr Jaz Mavi, a British Asian sikh man in his thirties, photographed in the ward of Heartlands Hospital. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya RZ67.
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"At it’s worst our staffing was so stretched we had doctors deployed in areas of the hospital they hadn’t practised in for 15 or 20 years. On my ward (the medical emergencies ward) we had a gynaecologist managing it for a week. In other areas of the hospital we had medical students stepping up as doctors, consultants working in different specialities and there was no sense of hierarchy. That completely went.


And the morale was so high. We still had normal patients plus the COVID patients, and even though at times we were overwhelmed and so busy, there was such a strong sense that we were in it together. We would take our breaks together, do affirmations together, meditations together. We grew so much as a team."


Dr Jaskaran Singh Mavi, Heartlands Hospital.

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"At it’s worst our staffing was so stretched we had doctors deployed in areas of the hospital they hadn’t practised in for 15 or 20 years. On my ward (the medical emergencies ward) we had a gynaecologist managing it for a week. In other areas of the hospital we had medical students stepping up as doctors, consultants working in different specialities and there was no sense of hierarchy. That completely went.


And the morale was so high. We still had normal patients plus the COVID patients, and even though at times we were overwhelmed and so busy, there was such a strong sense that we were in it together. We would take our breaks together, do affirmations together, meditations together. We grew so much as a team."


Dr Jaskaran Singh Mavi, Heartlands Hospital.

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Michael Tye, a white male pensioner, at his allotment in Handsworth. A retired science teacher, Michael is an active member of his local community. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"I spent more time spiritually over lockdown. I was able to devote more time to me and my Lord. I think (as we ease out of lockdown) there will be a balance. I’m thankful we can go see the grandchildren again now. My daughter was going to get married this August in Iceland too and we were all going to go there, so that hasn’t happened. It’s been postponed to next June."


Michael Tye, 76, at his allotment in Handsworth. A retired science teacher, Michael is an active member of his local community.

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"I spent more time spiritually over lockdown. I was able to devote more time to me and my Lord. I think (as we ease out of lockdown) there will be a balance. I’m thankful we can go see the grandchildren again now. My daughter was going to get married this August in Iceland too and we were all going to go there, so that hasn’t happened. It’s been postponed to next June."


Michael Tye, 76, at his allotment in Handsworth. A retired science teacher, Michael is an active member of his local community.

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Supreet Singh Suri, a British south asian Indian musician from King Norton, photographed in his back garden.  A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"When I went back to India after mom passed (in 2019), I was scared to have time. I was scared to have too much time. Maybe that’s a negative because I kept a lot of feelings down. And then these would find their way out in really weird times and places.” Supreet Singh Suri, King Norton.


On 18th April 2020, his dad’s birthday, Sur managed to get a repatriation flight home to Birmingham from Bombay, India. Since, he has spent long hours tending to the garden with his father, working on his music and sitting outside for hours talking about his mother. Working through feelings and grieving a loss they have both felt so heavily since her death from cancer.


Lockdown forced them to have the difficult conversations they might have avoided otherwise.

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"When I went back to India after mom passed (in 2019), I was scared to have time. I was scared to have too much time. Maybe that’s a negative because I kept a lot of feelings down. And then these would find their way out in really weird times and places.” Supreet Singh Suri, King Norton.


On 18th April 2020, his dad’s birthday, Sur managed to get a repatriation flight home to Birmingham from Bombay, India. Since, he has spent long hours tending to the garden with his father, working on his music and sitting outside for hours talking about his mother. Working through feelings and grieving a loss they have both felt so heavily since her death from cancer.


Lockdown forced them to have the difficult conversations they might have avoided otherwise.

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Elayne Dwyer, 53, a black woman photographed in Moseley Bog. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"I have always enjoyed being outdoors, especially the countryside and coastal environments, but Lockdown meant abiding in the local area, so I organised social distance walks with my Mum who lives a mile from me.


We met twice a week and discovered some lovely walks and open spaces in the area that we were not aware of. For some reason, reconnecting with nature gave me a real sense of awareness for the beauty of trees. So I chose to have my photograph taken at Moseley Bog. During the uncertainty of Lockdown, for me, trees have been familiar and stabilising."


Elayne Dwyer, 53.

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"I have always enjoyed being outdoors, especially the countryside and coastal environments, but Lockdown meant abiding in the local area, so I organised social distance walks with my Mum who lives a mile from me.


We met twice a week and discovered some lovely walks and open spaces in the area that we were not aware of. For some reason, reconnecting with nature gave me a real sense of awareness for the beauty of trees. So I chose to have my photograph taken at Moseley Bog. During the uncertainty of Lockdown, for me, trees have been familiar and stabilising."


Elayne Dwyer, 53.

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Rosie, Michael and Stella King. A family portrait in their kitchen in Kings Heath.  A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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Rosie: "It’s been a double-edged sword, we’ve had all this wonderful time together, but it’s been very difficult that in the first three months of her life, Stella didn’t know anyone else existed.

The weirdest thing after Stella arrived was Mike had an hour with us and then had to go home. Partners weren’t allowed on the ward, so we had 24 hours on our own. That was really strange and tough. If she had been born the day before we wouldn’t have had that."


Michael: "A second lockdown would be my biggest worry, just as you think things are going back to normal and you can start to look forward to things, if we had that taken away again that would be really hard. Especially for Stella as we really want her to have a normal baby life. And at the moment she’s had it stunted to a degree."


Rosie, Michael and Stella King.

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Rosie: "It’s been a double-edged sword, we’ve had all this wonderful time together, but it’s been very difficult that in the first three months of her life, Stella didn’t know anyone else existed.

The weirdest thing after Stella arrived was Mike had an hour with us and then had to go home. Partners weren’t allowed on the ward, so we had 24 hours on our own. That was really strange and tough. If she had been born the day before we wouldn’t have had that."


Michael: "A second lockdown would be my biggest worry, just as you think things are going back to normal and you can start to look forward to things, if we had that taken away again that would be really hard. Especially for Stella as we really want her to have a normal baby life. And at the moment she’s had it stunted to a degree."


Rosie, Michael and Stella King.

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Aabidah Shah, 23, from Sheldon Birmingham. A graduate from the class of 2020 from University of Wolverhampton. Photographed in her bedroom, her place of study. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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When photography student Aabidah, 23, returned home to Sheldon during lockdown she had forgotten about all the little quirks of living under one roof with her family. Such as when no-one replaces the toilet roll or being told by her siblings to quieten down when she was working. It was a big readjustment after years of living on her own at University accommodation in Wolverhampton.


"When Uni closed completely I felt lost until I saw a video on TikTok of someone using Facetime to take photos and that completely changed the work I was doing, which was previously reliant on the studio. I started doing calls with people across the world, and this new way of working opened up so many opportunities for me."


Aabidah Shah, class of 2020.

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When photography student Aabidah, 23, returned home to Sheldon during lockdown she had forgotten about all the little quirks of living under one roof with her family. Such as when no-one replaces the toilet roll or being told by her siblings to quieten down when she was working. It was a big readjustment after years of living on her own at University accommodation in Wolverhampton.


"When Uni closed completely I felt lost until I saw a video on TikTok of someone using Facetime to take photos and that completely changed the work I was doing, which was previously reliant on the studio. I started doing calls with people across the world, and this new way of working opened up so many opportunities for me."


Aabidah Shah, class of 2020.

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Abdullah Basket, Labanese Munch, harbrone high street. A street portrait. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"During the pandemic it was a ghost town here (Harborne High Street). One person going past maybe every hour. It affected the business, and we are still affected as we are getting out of lockdown." 

Abdullah Basket, Labanese Munch.

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"During the pandemic it was a ghost town here (Harborne High Street). One person going past maybe every hour. It affected the business, and we are still affected as we are getting out of lockdown." 

Abdullah Basket, Labanese Munch.

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Jonnie Turpie, 66, Moseley. An MA fine art student at Birmingham School of Art. Photographed in his home in Moseley, Birmingham. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"Writing and drawing have kept me active in the physical isolation of the flat. Like many city dwellers the quietness has made us more aware of the lively natural world of birds, bees, plants and trees. Two neighbours decided lockdown was going to be a garden project to make a raised vegetable garden and rebuild an old greenhouse that had been blown down in the storms.


The garden is overgrown and shared between 9 flats and Lockdown has encouraged us all to follow the lead and work together to bring the garden back into its original state. Some of us have green fingers some not, but what we have seen is everyone doing whatever they can to make it a shared space for all."


Jonnie Turpie, 66, Moseley.

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"Writing and drawing have kept me active in the physical isolation of the flat. Like many city dwellers the quietness has made us more aware of the lively natural world of birds, bees, plants and trees. Two neighbours decided lockdown was going to be a garden project to make a raised vegetable garden and rebuild an old greenhouse that had been blown down in the storms.


The garden is overgrown and shared between 9 flats and Lockdown has encouraged us all to follow the lead and work together to bring the garden back into its original state. Some of us have green fingers some not, but what we have seen is everyone doing whatever they can to make it a shared space for all."


Jonnie Turpie, 66, Moseley.

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Rachel, manager of Ikon Barbers, Harborne High Street, Birmingham. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"At first lockdown was good, I got lots of jobs done in the house, but than I was desperate to get back to some normality. I’ve never wanted to get back to work as much. And people appreciate us more now after they had to cut their own hair!" 

Rachel, manager of Ikon Barbers, Harborne High Street.

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"At first lockdown was good, I got lots of jobs done in the house, but than I was desperate to get back to some normality. I’ve never wanted to get back to work as much. And people appreciate us more now after they had to cut their own hair!" 

Rachel, manager of Ikon Barbers, Harborne High Street.

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Dr Niki Lee, a doctor at Good Hope Hospital. Photographed in her back garden in Sutton Coldfield. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"Sadly we had a few patients pass away with COVID and that was incredibly tough for the whole team. Trying to explain to people that they may not potentially survive their intensive care admission before we took them to the ICU and calling patients family too, that was so hard.


The thing that kept me going though was the great team spirit and camaraderie at work. We had about 20 doctors working on any given day, the nursing staff and then the porters who would come in, it was a multi-disciplinary team of lots of different players all doing their role to make the whole thing work."


Dr Niki Lee, Good Hope Hospital.

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"Sadly we had a few patients pass away with COVID and that was incredibly tough for the whole team. Trying to explain to people that they may not potentially survive their intensive care admission before we took them to the ICU and calling patients family too, that was so hard.


The thing that kept me going though was the great team spirit and camaraderie at work. We had about 20 doctors working on any given day, the nursing staff and then the porters who would come in, it was a multi-disciplinary team of lots of different players all doing their role to make the whole thing work."


Dr Niki Lee, Good Hope Hospital.

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Keren Garcha, 34, photographed at home. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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For four months Keren Garcha, 34, shielded on her own under government guidelines. She is in the high-risk category because of the medications she takes for her Lupus, Raynaud’s and Scleroderma. It is ironic then that due to Lockdown and COVID-19 she feels in the best health since September 2019. The opportunity to relax and stay relatively stress free has given her body a chance to heal and recover from the various ill health she had been suffering from pre-lockdown.


Although living on her own during lockdown has at times been lonely, Keren has been very pro-active and positive in keeping busy. From growing herbs and exercising daily to attending health and well-being webinars and learning Spanish on Duolingo. Returning to work in August finally bought back some normality.

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For four months Keren Garcha, 34, shielded on her own under government guidelines. She is in the high-risk category because of the medications she takes for her Lupus, Raynaud’s and Scleroderma. It is ironic then that due to Lockdown and COVID-19 she feels in the best health since September 2019. The opportunity to relax and stay relatively stress free has given her body a chance to heal and recover from the various ill health she had been suffering from pre-lockdown.


Although living on her own during lockdown has at times been lonely, Keren has been very pro-active and positive in keeping busy. From growing herbs and exercising daily to attending health and well-being webinars and learning Spanish on Duolingo. Returning to work in August finally bought back some normality.

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Ben Jeffery, manager of Oikos Café, Erdington, Birmingham. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"We have had to do a whole restructure and overhaul of our suppliers and menu to try and gain some small margins. Some days we will be really quiet and others we have to turn people away because we have less tables."

Ben Jeffery, manager of Oikos Café, Erdington.

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"We have had to do a whole restructure and overhaul of our suppliers and menu to try and gain some small margins. Some days we will be really quiet and others we have to turn people away because we have less tables."

Ben Jeffery, manager of Oikos Café, Erdington.

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Aloma, 47, with her daughters Tonya-Lee and Tamoy at Edgbaston reservoir Birmingham. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"Lockdown has limited our movements and what we do in our daily lives, but it has some- how drawn our family closer together. My husband was always busy, but because of COVID19 he spent more time at home.


And I found this new respect for teachers! I couldn’t cope as a mother, sometimes I thought my hair was going to fall out. There was no outlet for the children. I bought everything I could think of from Amazon, books, swimming pool, you name it! Then there was my husband who started fixing everything that didn’t need fixing, tearing the house down trying to keep himself occupied."


Aloma, 47, with her daughters Tonya-Lee and Tamoy at Edgbaston reservoir.

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"Lockdown has limited our movements and what we do in our daily lives, but it has some- how drawn our family closer together. My husband was always busy, but because of COVID19 he spent more time at home.


And I found this new respect for teachers! I couldn’t cope as a mother, sometimes I thought my hair was going to fall out. There was no outlet for the children. I bought everything I could think of from Amazon, books, swimming pool, you name it! Then there was my husband who started fixing everything that didn’t need fixing, tearing the house down trying to keep himself occupied."


Aloma, 47, with her daughters Tonya-Lee and Tamoy at Edgbaston reservoir.

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Tamoy, 10, at Edgbaston reservoir Birmingham. A lockdown portrait shot on medium format film, on a Mamiya 7ii.
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"Lockdown has been fun and interesting, however it’s not the best thing to happen. But nothing bad will last forever."


Tamoy, 10.

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"Lockdown has been fun and interesting, however it’s not the best thing to happen. But nothing bad will last forever."


Tamoy, 10.

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