7 Jul 2020

reality check

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.  
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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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