This is the eighth blog in a series on COVID-19 and lockdown, edited by email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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