2020 - 2021 Images of a Pandemic Diary

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These photographs were taken in the weeks before the pandemic from February 2020 through until the middle of 2022.

In the year before the pandemic in 2019 I was experimenting with various mini compact cameras. I wanted a no fuss way of documenting everyday life. I wanted to use these tiny cameras as form of visual diary. They were light and easy to carry in a pocket anywhere I went. I found these mini compact cameras to be more discrete than any other photographic devices. Few people use these cameras, which are at least twenty five years old. They are considered by people to be toys rather than serious cameras.

I used black and white 35mm film which seemed to get to the heart of what attracted me to photograph a scene without the distraction of colour. Using black and white film also allowed me to take photos under diverse artificial and natural light conditions. As the pandemic began I also wished to be able to take discrete photos under bad lighting conditions. I wanted to be able to point and shoot discreetly without fuss. To achieve this, I began using faster film from 800iso up to 3200iso. Under the worst lighting conditions, I could still get an image. I also liked the distressed grainy effect of the prints produced which had a sense of urgency and anxiety that embodied my feelings as I went about my business during the early months of the pandemic. I took photos most days during this time. Images of empty supermarket shelves, of empty abandoned streets, crowds of people wearing face masks, notices to socially distance and many others. Each day I went into the city with my face mask and mini compact camera felt like a confrontation with the unseen and unknown Covid 19 virus. These grainy distressed film images with their limited visibility and rough look were the result.

Chris Reid 29.10.22


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