• Gillian Simmons

Photographs in Lockdown

Updated: May 14

In May this year, when the UK had been in lockdown for some time and restrictions were beginning to lift a little, business friends Penny Plimmer – a freelance commercial photographer from Portsmouth, and Martine Bolton – a freelance training consultant and author from Hedge End, decided to join forces in a new venture. The landscape, along with people’s lives, had changed quite dramatically, and they realised that what was happening was an event of historical significance, the seriousness and extent of which hadn’t been seen for over 100 years.

They decided they wanted to record the times in a book that would tell the story of what happened from the human perspective – people’s first-hand accounts of their experiences, accompanied by beautiful photographs that would capture the essence of the times.

They have since collected over 50 stories and photographs from people and businesses within a 20-mile radius of Portsmouth, each telling very personal accounts of what happened, and how they adapted to the changes they were faced with.

Penny said “People are amazing, and I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the pictures and hearing people’s accounts. We will probably go down the self-publishing route, and are currently exploring ways of funding the book’s production. Our businesses both suffered hugely during lockdown with very little paid work coming in, and so we’re looking at the possibility of sponsorship to support printing costs.

Martine said “The book will be a large, coffee table style memento with beautiful black and white photographs – the kind of thing people will want to keep and show their grandchildren years in the future, or that would be great in reception areas and waiting rooms for people to flick through. Capturing the stories has been touching and uplifting, as despite the nature of the event, so many people, businesses and charities did extraordinary things to help others and serve their communities and customers. We wanted to shine a light on the superheroes, and ensure that the many positive things that came out of the situation aren’t forgotten”.

A minimum of 20% of any profits from the book will go to the charities and charitable organizations whose stories feature.

Beyond the book, the duo would love to create an exhibition of the photographs, and believe the project could attract attention to the area, highlighting the resilience, creativity and spirit of the people.

They intend to publish the book in October, and would love to hear from any potential sponsors, galleries or stockists who are interested in coming on board.

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