MARK HEATHCOTE

It started with us being evacuated from Italy. The borders were closing as this new virus spread. I cut short a ski trip, returning to be subject to new rules, meaning that I had to self isolate for 2 weeks. Just me, in the guest room, with a laptop, a 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. My worry was that it would all be over by the time I was allowed out of my room. It seems a silly thought now, 2 years later.

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

My annoyance was refocussed into determination to be ready as soon as my isolation was over. I anticipated the obvious Covid projects 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.

I began exploring to find my unique angle. I visited Folkestone, Eastbourne and Brighton, shooting randomly at anything Covid related. It was then that I noticed the virus street art, bird poop on unused cars, unrepaired broken shop windows, and 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.

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 consequential aspects of lockdown, and the unexpected personal  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.