MARK HEATHCOTE

It started with being evacuated from Italy before borders closed. I rushed back early from a ski trip into new rules meaning I had to self isolate for 2 weeks. Just me, in the guest room, with a laptop, guitar and my Leica.


I didn't write any songs, but I did have a lot of time to think. It seemed important to document the infection. I was just worried that it would all be over by the time I was allowed out of my room. It seems a silly thing to worry about now, nearly 12 months later.

I was annoyed though. I knew I had not been in any of the high infection areas, and I had even taken mask and gloves skiing in unlikely anticipation of a worst case scenario due to the early news about a new virus spreading from China.

My annoyance was focussed into determination to be ready to shoot as soon as my isolation was up. I anticipated the obvious types of Covid work that other's would likely do. I also anticipated that some obvious shots would quickly turn from novelty to cliché (as masks and queues became normalised for example).

I decided to begin by exploring the options. I visited Folkestone, Eastbourne and Brighton, shooting randomly at anything Covid related trying to find my angle. It was then that I noticed the virus street art, bird poop on unused cars, unrepaired broken shop windows, dead flowers outside the closed pubs. These were important details which were noticed only in the subconscious but were an important historical aspect to the lockdowns. My project started proper.

The project did of course morph as it progressed. I discovered new angles to explore as part of the story, including the conspiracy theories, anger at Londoners visiting the beaches in locked down coastal towns, and no-one carrying cash (a big problem for the homeless). 

I quickly focussed on Brighton, and this series is the result of my time spent exploring these un-noticed aspects of lockdown, and the unexpected emotional journey that it took me on.

me in self isolation

This work is dedicated to Claire Heathcote, Danielle Heathcote and Jade Heathcote, all essential workers.