As the coronavirus spread across the country, many industries have suffered and continue to do so. One of those was the photographic sector, where photographers found themselves without assignments, so the team at Equal Lens, a non-profit organisation that promotes the work of women and non-binary photographers, launched an online competition called Two Metres of Separation.
Sophie Harris-Taylor’s picture of a bed in King’s College Hospital, London, has been selected as the winner.
It is a very personal picture as it is the bed in which she was induced to give birth.
She was one of countless women to have lain there before and since, surrounded by so many others going through the same experience – all just a couple of metres apart. Each of them was screened, but hearing one another.
Alisa Connan’s picture was one of those selected as a runner-up and shows identical twins. It is titled Born Together, Staying Together.
“For them, living in close quarters is not a new concept,” says Connan.
“From sharing their mother’s womb to sharing every birthday and major event in their lives. Their bond is one that is stronger than most of us will ever know. This image represents that deep connection at a time where we need it most.”
The second runner-up, Gabrielle Motola, found ways to take pictures during the lockdown that ensured she maintained her distance.
“While it may be tempting to go out and document what is happening on the street and to our society, it is far more important and helpful to abide by the guidelines and stay home for everyone’s safety,” says Motola.
“So I turned my lens to the space I am in at home, and began documenting my daily life. This is my housemate Jane about to do the ironing. Our wonderful cleaner Kasha is no longer coming over to the house to clean, though Jane is still paying her weekly.”
Here are some of the other pictures that were highly commended:
“One thing that showed the severity of the lockdown was seeing schools shut and all exams being cancelled,” says Serena Brown.
“The years between 16 and 18 were when I struggled with my mental health the most, and young people are now juggling a global pandemic alongside an even more elevated sense of uncertainty when it comes to their education and their future.
“I’ve been documenting the “Class of Covid-19″, from two metres of separation, and speaking to local young people about how they’re coping with lockdown in their final year of school.”
Photographer Vic Lentaigne photographed the poet Kai in Clapton.
“The images were made to accompany a film my friend made featuring Kai reciting a poem they wrote, alongside footage filmed by various different people, all of which were created during lockdown,” says Lentaigne.
“We spoke about mental health, gender and lockdown difficulties, and positivity – and I will remember this day and shoot for the rest of my life.”
Bria Woods is a portrait photographer and photojournalist based in Texas, and this photo is part of an ongoing series she is doing called The Front Steps Project.
Roughly 100-200 students are still living on campus at the University of Houston-Victoria where they are trying to socially distance.
Focusing on overlooked communities, this landscape series by Polly Tootal is a document of how the streets of north and east London reflect the crisis within them.
Looking at urban space located around the ring road A406 and surrounding areas, she searched for images which contain a social critique of these times.
Tami Aftab was working on a project photographing her Dad, who suffers from a short-term memory loss, before the pandemic hit.
Both of them are in high-risk groups, so she has had to isolate away from her home. This image shows the artist tracing the shape of her Dad’s scar, finding ways to bring him into the landscape whilst they’re physically apart.
All photographs courtesy Equal Lens