This is the last image I took before COVID-19 hit London. I was under the railway tracks over Borough High Street by London Bridge train station at 07:08 PM on 30 January 2020. (This was one day after the first case was found in the UK). The lack of natural freedom to roam during the lockdowns that began less than two months later resulted in me getting out of my usual rhythm of taking photographs.

Looking back at this image now, I find the floating 21s and 22s have an eerie and more surreal quality to them than before. At the time I had a sense of potential impending doom. The idea that life, as we knew it was going to slip away, had been playing out in the back of my mind for a few months as I’d walked around this area with my camera. I had been working in a place that had TV screens everywhere and so it had been hard to miss everything that was going down in China. We’d nervously mentioned the film Contagion.

But of course, none of us in the UK knew that it would be 2021 before we had hope of a route out of the unimaginable fear and chaos with a vaccination programme. And 2022 before life would return to some semblance of what we’d known before.

21/22 — available as a print.

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