Has Leicester ever really been out of lockdown since March 2020? I feel like we were known as the forgotten city. Bombarded with numerous confused messages over the summer months, residents of the City and adjacent areas were kept in ‘special’ measures compared to the rest of the country - seriously, I sometimes felt embarrassed and ashamed of my postcode. Some of our schools finish earlier than the rest of the county and country - the local banter and whispers discussed that some neighbors were suspiciously ‘not around’ and ‘rebelled’ against the new Leicester lockdown restrictions. Sadly, plenty of families missed out on their normal ‘July fortnight holiday’ - a tradition that has been in place for 55 years. Created so that families could take a well-earned break to the seaside - many factories closed for two weeks; this was known as the much-beloved Leicestershire Workers’ July Fortnight.
Sitting at home, unable to travel, I could visualize what it would be like looking out to the sea and embracing the open spaces, even though I could not reach the sand and coast. So, when Boris gave the green light, we left. The abandoned the city that had held us captive. I know now, we were one of the lucky ones who managed to ‘escape’.
This body of photographic work -appropriately titled ‘Escape’, explores space, reflections, light, freedom and
subtle illusions in the landscape. It is my response to the paradise I love, yearned for and managed to briefly enjoy. Shot during two visits to Norfolk in August and October 2020 the imagery
symbolises my retaliation to being restricted, yet quietly reflect my anger to being confined for the summer. This is the place I feel safe and free. The question that does concern me as we commence yet another lockdown, is will I get back to the place I love, how long will the restrictions go on for realistically? The burden of daily life can grow heavy, we all need something focus on and aim for. Fortunately, I am an optimist, I know I will revisit my sandy footprints. However, while I am coping with the short days and dark nights, not without bubbling anxiety of more possible lockdowns, I have these photographic memories and reflections of freedom and release - my escape.
Work selected in the LOVE Art Exhibition 2020