July 7, 2020

In a year when the 4th of July has been vigorously challenged as a day of liberty for all there's an uncomfortable parallel with England's own Independence Day billed as the Day We Smiled Again by some and #SuperSpreaderSaturday by others.

Whatever the outcome it marks a moment in the Lockdown story. Whether it's the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning we don't know. It does feel timely to reflect on my experience expressed through my own documentary project. I confess I've become a little obsessive. Each morning I think I've taken all the photographs that can be made of household belongings on garden walls, of socially distant pavement markers, of going out of business/opening soon shop window signs. No. They keep coming.

I don't want this project to become a kind of dystopian scavenger hunt. Behind all these signs, symbols and ciphers lie people's livelihoods and lives. It's so moving to observe all this so vicariously. Is it a very English breakdown of society? Polite. Apologetic. Decent.

There's been plenty of allusions - and illusions - of war. The nation coming together. Spitfire flypasts. No room for dissent. The hidden social impacts have still to play out in public. I've always looked forward to summer. Lately I've come to regard the sun with more portent. Now the weather feels more part of a bread and circuses strategy. To distract and to palliate.

Ah yes. How could I forget. We've been here before.

Humankind cannot bear very much reality. T.S. Eliot

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Sean McDonnell

I've been pursuing a style of photography now called street for a number of years. A south Londoner by birth I am pre-occupied with the West End and spend too much time there taking black and white pictures on film. I nurture a hope that one day London will be recognised like Paris, New York and Tokyo as a great city of street photography but secretly like the fact that it is still the underdog. For someone who enjoys the solitary practice of his work I am surprisingly talkative about it - although not at the same time. Here's a collection of idle musings and distracting links.

These posts are a sample of my current blog PORTRAIT OF A STREET PHOTOGRAPHER. There are 10 years of posts so please visit!

Portrait of a Street Photographer archive

link to Portrait of a Street Photographer blog
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