So like most people, when the Covid-19 pandemic and first lockdown occurred in March 2020, I found myself restricted to an hour’s daily exercise outside – which mainly consisted of a walk with our dog, Buddy, around the local Carshalton Park in Wallington, London.
As a candid street photographer this was also my only opportunity to get out with a camera – certainly for the first few months from March 2020 whilst lockdown restrictions were in place. So all I could do during this time was document others also enjoying some outdoor time in the same local park: dog walkers, parents keeping kids occupied, those exercising and others just grateful for a stroll in the fresh air.
Of course, given the social distancing restrictions also in place, it meant most of this shooting was done at a distance – never ideal when you’re shooting with a wide 28mm lens (Richo GR3).
Over the months, as restrictions lifted I was able to start photographing elsewhere, especially during the later summer months of 2020, so tended to document life in the park a little less during this period. However as we headed into the Autumn/Winter, lockdown restrictions were again enforced, first in London and then across the rest of the UK at the start of 2021. So I kept on photographing in that same local Carshalton Park, right up to the point we moved away (down to Somerset) in April 2021.
I now have a unique personal and, perhaps, social record of the pandemic in one location throughout the seasons of one year. What was once a frustration of shooting at a distance on a wide 28mm lens, now feels like it enhanced how I felt to socially distance at this time.
So, please, do enjoy my year of a pandemic park life 2020-2021 in 50 frames.
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