A year of lock down documented,
Captured through a lens.
Streets stand vacant,
Filled only by the hue from redundant shops.
No gloomy faces in windows of shiny office blocks.
The architecture stands proud,
Enticing you in with its curves and edges,
This city is ours.
An exploration of space
Uncovering new places,
Through aimless wandering
Into landscapes and cityscapes,
We reconnect with nature.
Where the familiar and unfamiliar collide,
Where streets become playgrounds
No green space left to waste.
Bikes rode out of necessity
Releasing our inner child
A temporary moment
Of a fleeting feeling of freedom.
Bars open for business offering a glimpse of hope,
Our fingers once again grasped
onto condensation soaked glasses,
A small sigh of relief for the masses.
Shops opened and the streets filled once more.
Faces frozen in portraits,
A moment of pause.
A chance to catch our breath,
Caused us all to reflect.
Welcome to the new normal,
Whatever that means.
Hours spent staring at screens.
Tinnies on park benches
Countless units of alcohol consumed
It could be four o’clock but really it's noon.
Cigarettes smoked until fingers burn.
Behind closed doors,
After them you yearn.
Indoor antics, let the fetish unfold,
celebrated and adored.
Untold stories we are yet to hear
Black Lives Matter,
the streets flooded with support.
That couldn’t be ignored
The message was love,
Things have to change.
New lessons learnt,
Life lived inside a support bubble
Where housemates become family
Whilst we mourn the losses
Time seems to change
Days blur into one
Lost in the motion
Touching at a distance
Until we meet again,
To start the resistance.
A poem by Laura Weaver
"A year of lockdown documented, captured through a lens", "Touching at a distance, until we meet again". These simple words are why we had to create this project, we were given a time of total reflection, which is so rare.
We were able to run around the silent streets in the warm air for as long as we dreamed. Many choosing to use photography as their new source of pleasure but also a new way to really document their lives. Slowing down allowed us to really see the people, the buildings and the communities around us that we were too busy to notice before.
Film photography is always such an unsure medium to use, 'Will my images comes out? Is the lighting right? Will they ever come back from the darkroom?'. I see these anxieties paralleled in our surroundings, constantly unsure when you can see your friends and family again? When with life go back to normal? How do I push myself just to leave the house tomorrow?
This life that took us over impacted some of us negatively and some positively, once again I see that truly represented in the images that have been taken. Some are taking images of empty car parks, empty streets and loneliness, however some are seen surrounded by friends, experimenting with new ideas and processes, "Cigarettes smoked until fingers burn, indoor antics, let the fetish unfold".
We saw this photography over the entire year and there was one consistency was DIYD, the darkroom ran by Elyssa Iona at Islington Mill. As one of the only independant dark rooms in Manchester they got super busy throughout this time of mass film photography experimentation and we congratulate them for the amazing work they have done to keep us updated with our short snaps of life.
We knew we had to make an exhibition and so Touching At A Distance was born.
The only theme is Manchester and that has been interpreted in so many ways, the communities, the places, the buildings and the experiences in this city, and we want to celebrate them.
We reached out into the community and asked for a snapshot of the life of film photographers who use the services that DIYD offer and these 28 artists all submitted and were all used.
Harry Flaherty - https://www.instagram.com/placeswehaveseen/?hl=en
Mirko Lazzarin - https://www.instagram.com/armadillomediaproductions/?hl=en
Arabella Keyte-Goddard - https://www.instagram.com/arabellarchives/?hl=en
Imogen Hope - https://www.instagram.com/imogenhope96/?hl=en
Hannah Tinker - https://www.instagram.com/hannahetinker/?hl=en
Through The Eyes Of Ruby - https://www.instagram.com/throughtheyesofruby/?hl=en
Lauryn Heuston - https://www.instagram.com/lauryns35mm/?hl=en
Helen Bradshaw - https://www.instagram.com/retroflexive/?hl=en
Beth Trasher-Jackson - https://www.instagram.com/thrashershootsfilm/?hl=en
Emma Loughridge - https://www.instagram.com/emmaloughridge/?hl=en
Bazz Patel - https://www.instagram.com/bazzpatel/?hl=en
Kate Trevor - https://www.instagram.com/lomotrevor/?hl=en
Maisie Lee - https://www.instagram.com/maisiehlee/?hl=en
Jack Maltby - https://www.instagram.com/jackmltby/?hl=en
Sarah Armstrong - https://www.instagram.com/sarmstg/?hl=en
Leon Patrick - https://www.instagram.com/leonjpeg/?hl=en
Evangeline Ford - https://www.instagram.com/_evangeline.ford/?hl=en
Callum Wells - https://www.instagram.com/calwells/?hl=en
Eden Hemphill - https://www.instagram.com/edenhemphill/?hl=en
Ella Grace Jackson - https://www.instagram.com/llagracejackson/?hl=en
Nell Whittaker - https://www.instagram.com/_nell_whittaker_/?hl=en
Anisha Bedesha - https://www.instagram.com/filmbyanisha/?hl=en
Crack Dracula - https://www.instagram.com/crackdracula/?hl=en
Ema Crompton - https://www.instagram.com/emacrompz/?hl=en
Amelia Barlow - https://www.instagram.com/amelia.d.barlow/?hl=en
Ella Skinner - https://www.instagram.com/ella666jo/?hl=en
George Bell - https://www.instagram.com/georgedeanjnr/?hl=en
Ellie Mortell - https://www.instagram.com/elliem.photo/?hl=en
Samantha Jagger - https://www.instagram.com/sjagger/?hl=en
From professional photographers to some who used their first ever roll of film, the importance was more on the essence of the images rather than anything else and we certainly had some fantastic content.
If you haven't already then you can go back and wander the corridors of the exhibition here.