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C-19 2020: A tribute to healthcarer's death during a pandemic

Contemporary Home | Events | News

This is the eighth blog in a series on COVID-19 and lockdown, edited by and



C-19 2020 is a handmade A5 book containing 30 images and a little text.  The idea began with the short “Dr Teddy” sequence which I made in response to a news item in March this year about the tragic story of a retired consultant who had returned to work, only to contract and die of COVID-19.  This narrative linked with concurrent reports about lack of PPE and restrictions on funeral attendees.  From there I knew I had to make a book.

As a shielded person I did not get out much, so the images were a mixture of still life and archive material.  I found that the vague sense of personal dread that pervades much of my output suddenly found a focus in the genuinely existential threat of the virus. 

I am a little irritated by questions about what, where and how.  The pictures are metaphors.  They are not photographs of things or places; they are not photographs.  The images exist in my mind as representations of something more abstract.  For those who feel that they need to know when, how, where – most of the images were captured on a seven-year-old mobile telephone and further degraded by a piece of software called Vignette.  Curiously, it was a few years after buying the telephone before I realised that it could sensibly be used to capture pictures, and then only after I discovered software that emulated the imperfections of a leaky box camera.  The resulting images were in tune with my imagination in a way that high definition images never are.  It was a kind of liberation.

Making photobooks is a joy.  You can create a unique object that is wholly your own.  I generally use a simple Japanese sewn binding, but I find that is only suitable for slim volumes and thin paper.  I wanted something more substantial for this one, so I used Somerset Bockingford paper, which is a medium weight, double-sided art paper.  Each signature is two sheets of A4 folded in half, giving eight pages.  The signatures are hand sewn to a fabric backing.  The book is not perfect; I may still make changes, but for now it seemed more important to complete the project than to seek perfection.


Chris W Morris ARPS